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Thread: Andrew Jackson York has no idea what rifle his father used.

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    Member Scott in Indiana's Avatar
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    Andrew Jackson York has no idea what rifle his father used.

    I read John Beardicon's post in another thread about a phone conversation that C.S. Ferris had with Sergeant York's son Andrew concerning whether or not Alvin York used an M1903 or an M1917 in WWI. I'm here to tell you that Andrew York has no idea. No first hand knowledge on the subject.

    In July, 2001 my wife and I visited the York home and museum in Pall Mall, TN. Upon arrival it was interesting to find that Andrew was the park ranger at the site. My wife and I were the only visitors at the time so I had Andrew all to myself for about an hour. I specifically brough the rifle subject up and the bottom line is that he had no idea which rifle his father used for sure.



    He had John Perry's book "Sgt York - His Life, Legend & Legacy", a biography of Alvin York for sale along with other books on a table on the back porch of the house which serves as sort of the visitors center. Since I already owned the book, I pointed out to Andrew that the book says that the M1917 was used. He then asked me what rifle was used in the movie. I told him it was an M1903. He then said that if the M1903 was used in the movie, then that was the one that his father used because his father was an advisor on the film and if it was in the film, then that's the one he used. He then sat down at his desk there on the back porch and started looking for some documents that might help answer my question further. He couldn't find anything that might help.

    I thanked him for his time and then started to tour the house. When I was in the living room, Andrew approached me and told me that he thought the rifle used 30-06 ammunition. I explained that both rifles used 30-06 so the ammunition itself could not pinpoint one rifle over the other.

    It sounds like Andrew changed his tune a little in the Ferris conversation or Ferris mistook Andrew as being an expert on the subject because he is Alvin's son but again I assure you that Andrew has no first hand knowledge on the subject. No father/son passed on knowledge.

    Here are some pictures my wife snapped at the time. She just happened to take a shot of Andrew and me as he searched through his desk and again in the living room when he approached me on the ammo question.





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    Which rifle was on issue to the 328th Infantry at the time?
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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    The 328th (along with the rest of the 82nd Division) was probably equipped initially, (during training with the Britishicon) with the SMLE; later, when it went into the line as part of the American Army, it carried M1917s.
    Last edited by Rick the Librarian; 05-12-2010 at 08:12 AM.
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    So much for dependence on "solid secondary evidence". Actually, I would love to see some evidence of York using the 1903, and in my mind, I always see York with a 1903. They seem to fit together somehow. His actions in combat will always be celebrated, and are not diminished in any way by which rifle he used.

    Jim
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    lots of great info...hasnt this cat been kicked hard enough in the past???
    i recall more then a few banters over what rifle he used in the past 4 years, both on Joustericon and this forum..
    until someone comes up with a picture of York with said rifle...the truth may never be known...yea yea,,,iv seen the picture of him with a 1903...{after his service}
    no matter what wood and steel he used,,,he had brass ones for sure.
    as for Nick Ferris..??id bet at his age, he has forgot more about 1903,s 1917,s and Kragicon rifles, then any of us will ever know...
    Nick is first class all the way, a true gem to us collectors, one of the few that will talk with just about anyone..very friendly, soft spoken, and always has a grin and a handshake...
    Last edited by chuckindenver; 05-12-2010 at 10:18 AM.
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    I'm with Chuck. The Germans he killed could not care less what rifle he used. The debate has been going on for years and will continue to do so.

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    Really Senior Member Calif-Steve's Avatar
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    His rifle was stolen on the troopship while coming home, early 1919(?). He "forgot" the serial number and rarely spoke about the rifle. I'd guess that was because someone (the thief) had that particular rifle and York didn't want to help the thief sell it off. Now, nearly 100 years later we don't even know what type of rifle he carried.
    Let me add this: in Viet Nam you could carry a Thompson SMG, a Grease Gun SMG, AK-47, SKS, Garand, US Carbine, or heaven forbid, an M16icon. I suspect WWI was very similar to RVN. We didn't salute in the field and no one hassled you about anything. York was an NCO back when that meant something. He could have carried just exactly what he wanted and nobody would have said a word.
    Last edited by Calif-Steve; 05-12-2010 at 04:25 PM.

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    Let me add this: in Viet Nam you could carry a Thompson SMG, a Grease Gun SMG, AK-47, SKS, Garand, US Carbine, or heaven forbid, an M16icon. I suspect WWI was very similar to RVN.

    What? A Marine serving as a grunt in Vietnam carried, as his primary weapon, what he was told to carry be it an M-14, M-16, M-60 or M-79. True, there was some 'freelancing' with shotguns, captured enemy weapons, M-1 carbines but they were in addition to, not instead of. Vietnam was not a free-for-all.
    Last edited by Scarface; 05-16-2010 at 10:39 AM. Reason: deleted gif

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    I am with you, Scarface. Any Marine had better have his primary weapon at hand and on demand. Carrying an AK47 could be very dangerous to our health, as the sound of it drew fire from any Marine I served with, including me.

    Jim
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    67th Company, 5th Marines 1st Sgt. Daniel "Pop" Hunter's response to 1st Lt. Jonas Platt's query "Who is your Commander"?, Torcy side of Hill 142, Belleau Wood, 8:00 am, 6 Jun 1918.

    Semper Fidelis!

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    Member Scarface's Avatar
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    Absolutely agree about the response to the sound of an AK-47. Dropped in a Force Recon team or two that would occasionally carry them but if the team stepped in it and they had to be used the rest of the team would know who was where and firing what.

    Semper Fi Jim!

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