War on a Mess Kit

WWI mess kit, decorated by its soldier owner, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City MO (photo by Sheila Scarborough)A soldier took a sharp nail and laboriously poked out this design on his U.S. Model 1910 aluminum mess kit, while stationed on the Western Front during World War I.

It’s now part of the War Art collection on display at the truly excellent National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

That’s right, Kansas City.

Two weeks after the Armistice ended the Great War, citizen leaders in KC decided to raise money to build a memorial.

By November 1921 they had a site dedication ceremony with over 100,000 attendees and featuring Allied military leaders all in one place for the first (and only) time – Lieutenant General Baron Jacques from Belgium, General Armando Diaz from Italy, Marshal Ferdinand Foch from France, General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing from the U.S. and Admiral David Beatty from Great Britain.

But way before that, someone passed the time poking at his mess kit.

How patient the person must have been. How much he must have wished (unlike the average traveler in happier days) that he was anywhere but in then-not-so-lovely France.

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