William D. White’s Military Service

When the exhibition catalogue, William D. White: Vision and Voice of the Artist Revealed, was published, information about White’s military activities during World War I remained sketchy.

The Armistice ending the war was signed on November 11, 1918. Among White’s personal effects was a document from Company B, 73rd Engineers granting White permission to visit with his mother in Washington D.C. on November 19 (below). White also had four photographs (below) he said were taken during his service in France during the war. However, a search conducted through the National Archives uncovered no record of overseas activity for Company B, 73rd Engineers.

Additional research by Herb Cooper, who knew White when he was a boy, uncovered William D. White’s final payment roll, dated January 15, 1919. It indicates White completed his service with Company C, 1st Replacement Regiment of Engineers. On closer inspection, the highlighted paragraph (below) states that White was entitled to travel allowance and to foreign service pay.

What seems apparent is that White’s mother visited him in Washington D.C. prior to his deployment overseas. The Engineer Corps played an important role “cleaning up” after the war. I took a closer look at White’s photos and believe the enlarged section (below) depicts a 22-year-old William D. White seated on the right.

The Veterans Administration awarded White, listed as the rank of Private, a monthly pension of $85 at age 65 in July, 1961.

Military Leave

Final Pay Voucher (1of3) Crop WDW-WWI 1 CROP


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