November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, with an estimated 15–19 million killed and 23 million wounded. The warfare was beyond brutal; an industrialized slaughterhouse, with men repeatedly climbing "over the top" of their trenches into murderous machine gun fire, to gain at most a few yards of ground. It was not unusual for tens of thousands to die on a single day, and hundreds of thousands of their bodies were never even found. Tanks, submarines, and poison gas all made their deadly debuts.
If Americans can be said to have had any good fortune in the Great War, it was that our country did not enter the war until April 1917, more than two-and-a-half years after it began. American troops did not arrive in Europe in large numbers until 1918, when they helped break the stalemate. Still, over 117,000 Americans died in World War I. At least ten of them were athletes from the University of California. Here are their stories.
Warren Pauly, Class of 1912 - Rugby
Charles Warren Pauly was born and raised in San Diego. His father was also named Charles, so he went by his middle name. Warren Pauly went to Cal during the era when American football was deemed too dangerous and was replaced by rugby. Pauly was a four-year starter on Cal's Varsity Rugby team, 1908-1911, and Cal had a record of 48-8-5 during that time. He was the hero of the 1911 Big Game, scoring twice en route to a 21-3 Cal victory.
The 1910 Cal Rugby team. Warren Pauly is seated, second from left.
After graduating from Cal in 1912, Pauly became a stock broker in San Francisco, before he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917. The U.S. Army Air Service set up a ground school for pilots on the Cal campus, and so, like many Cal alums, Pauly decided to become a pilot. (The US Air Force was not established as a separate branch of the military until 1947.) After completing ground school in Berkeley, Pauly was sent to Oklahoma for flight training. The aeroplanes of the time were unbelievably rickety by modern standards and often unreliable. On March 6, 1918, Warren Pauly became the one of the many Cal students and alums to be killed in a crash during flight training.
Warren Pauly left behind his parents, Charles and Orcelia Pauly, and a younger sister. He was 29 years old.
Thomas Andrew Davidson, Class of 1910 - Crew
Thomas Andrew Davidson was born in Union, Ontario, Canada. When his older brother Gordon came to Cal for graduate school, Thomas came along with him. Gordon earned an MA in history in 1908 and a Ph.D. in 1916. Thomas, on the other hand, got his bachelor's degree in physics. Thomas Davidson rowed for the Varsity Crew all four years he was at Cal and was captain of the crew team his senior year. He also coached the Cal club sport which the Blue & Gold Yearbook referred to as "soccer football."
When World War I began in 1914, Thomas and Gordon Davidson both returned to Canada and joined the Canadian army. Thomas joined the engineers as a sapper and later got a commission in an artillery unit. On April 9, 1918, Captain Thomas Davidson was killed during a German advance at the Battle of Lys. He was wounded in both arms, both legs, and his chest, and died at a casualty clearing station near the front. His brother Gordon was wounded in the same action, but survived. Their third brother had been killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Raymond Lee Shearman, Class of 1917 - Cross-Country
Raymond Lee Shearman was a Berkeley native and a graduate of Berkeley High School. He grew up in a house on Piedmont Avenue. At Cal he was a member of the Varsity Cross-Country team and during his senior year, he was team captain. He graduated from Cal in the spring of 1917 and started working in the family business, Shearman Publishing Company in San Francisco. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in the summer of 1917. Raymond Shearman became a sergeant in the quartermaster corps and was sent to France. He was killed in an accident on May 25, 1918. As Shearman and three of his friends were walking to their camp, an Army truck lost its brakes, hitting and killing him instantly.
Raymond Shearman left behind his parents, Thomas and Muriel Shearman and his younger sister, Edith. He was 24 years old.
Elwin Fredrick Chapman, Class of 1914 - Baseball
Elwin Frederick Chapman grew up in Evanston, Wyoming. He came to Cal to major in agriculture. He played Varsity Baseball at Cal for four years and also played football as a freshman. He joined the US Army Air Service in 1917, and completed ground school at Cal. He was then sent to Rockwell Field in San Diego for flight training. During a training flight on June 4, 1918, Chapman's aeroplane collided with another plane about 500 feet above the ground. The instructor who was with him in the plane was killed instantly. Elwin Chapman was critically injured and died that night.
Elwin Chapman left behind his parents, George Chapman and Eliza Capen Chapman, and three older siblings. He was 25 years old.
Garrett Cochran - Cal Football & Baseball Coach 1898-1899
Garrett Cochran was born and raised in Pennsylvania and was captain of Princeton's Football & Baseball teams, including the 1896 National Champion football team, nicknamed "Cochran's Steamrollers." Right after graduating, the 22-year-old Cochran came out to Berkeley to coach football and baseball for the Bears. He took the winless 1897 Cal Football team and turned it into an undefeated 10-0-1 team in 1898. Cochran's overall record during two years in Berkeley, was 17-1-4, and his teams outscored their opponents 363-7. The only loss was a 2-0 heartbreaker against Carlisle Indian School, in the first east coast vs. west coast football game ever played.
"Garry" Cochran coached Cal football to its first two wins against Stanford, by a combined score of 52-0. In 1898, the Mayor of San Francisco had offered a prize to whichever school won two of the next three Big Games. Cal's 1898 and 1899 wins under Cochran won the prize: an award-winning statute by Berkeley artist Douglas Tilden called "Football Players," which still graces the Cal campus. The names of all the players from the 1898 and 1899 Big Games were engraved on the base.
After the 1899 football season, Cochran returned to the east coast. He coached at Navy for one season and then returned home to Pennsylvania to get a "real" job as an executive at the Williamsport Wire Rope Company. But Garry Cochran didn't lose his adventurous spirit. He joined the National Guard, and in 1916 was called up and sent to Mexico as part of General John J. Pershing's fruitless effort to find Pacho Villa. He was called up again when the United States entered World War I, and was sent to France as a Lieutenant of Artillery.
While in France, Cochran became gravely ill with pneumonia. He was put on a hospital ship back to the United States, but died on board the ship on July 8, 1918. He left behind his wife, Eleanor McNeeley Cochran, and three young children. He was 41 years old.
In tribute to its fallen coach, the University added Garrett Cochran's name to the base of the Football Players statue, at the very bottom. It was unveiled at a memorial ceremony for Cochran held in 1920, attended by all the surviving members of his teams. More about Garrett Cochran can be found here.
Jay Willis McElroy, Class of 1917 - Swimming
Jay Willis McElroy was born in Saratoga in Santa Clara County, but grew up in Berkeley. His parents ran the Berkeley YMCA and the family lived in an apartment upstairs. Young Jay learned to swim at the YMCA and when he entered Cal he joined the Varsity Swimming team. One of his teammates was Ludy Langer, who would become the first Cal swimmer to win an Olympic Medal (Silver) at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. In addition to swimming, McElroy was first tenor for the Cal Glee Club, under the direction of Brick Morse, who wrote "Sons of California" and "Hail to California."
The 1916 Cal Varsity Swimming Team. Jay McElroy is third from left. Second from left is Ludy Langer, who would become Cal's first Olympic swimmer.
Jay McElroy graduated from Cal in 1917 and joined the Army Air Service a couple of months later. He went to ground school on the Cal campus, then did flight training in San Diego, before being sent to France. On September 29, 1918, Lt. McElroy and his observer, Lt. Howard Kinne, were sent on a mission to scout German artillery locations. They were attacked by German planes and shot down in flames. Lt. Jay McElroy was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France. He left behind his parents, John McElroy and Irene Davis McElroy, and four brothers, Chester, Otto, Guy, and Joseph. He was 25 years old.
The McElroy family. Jay is standing at left.
Raymond Hough Sherman, Class of 1896 - Football and Track & Field
Raymond Hough Sherman grew up in Martinez, California. He played football for Cal 1892-1895. He played in the very first Big Game as a freshman. One of his teammates was Brick Morse, who would later write, "Sons of California" and "Hail to California." Sherman was also on the Cal Track & Field team, competing in high jump and shot put. In his senior year, he was elected to the ASUC Executive Committee.
The 1895 Cal Football team. Raymond Sherman is seated, fourth from right. Brick Morse is standing at far right.
After graduating from Cal in 1896, Raymond Sherman moved to France and opened one of the first automobile dealerships in Paris. When World War I began in 1914, Sherman joined the British Red Cross to assist with war relief. When the United States entered the War in 1917, he transferred to the US Army, with the rank of Major, and was put in charge of American Army relief efforts in Paris. He died in Paris during the Influenza pandemic on October 21, 1918.
Raymond Sherman left behind his mother, Elnora McAdow Sherman, his wife, Ida Moody Sherman, and two children, 12-year-old Eda and 10-year-old Frederick. He was 46 years old.
John Kenneth Moody, Class of 1919 - Track & Field
John Kenneth Moody grew up in Redding, California. At Cal he was a member of the Varsity Track & Field team, excelling as a quarter mile runner. Moody, who went by his middle name, Kenneth, was also very active in Mask & Daggar, the Cal drama club, where he acted and sang in numerous plays.
This photograph of Moody (right) performing in the musical comedy "What Next" at Cal appeared in the 1917 Blue & Gold Yearbook.
Kenneth Moody took a leave from Cal in 1918 to enlist in the US Navy as a Seaman 2nd Class. Moody was selected for Officer's Training and sent to Mare Island, California. He was there as the 1918 Influenza pandemic swept through US military bases, and he died on October 21, 1918. He left behind his widowed father, Herbert Moody, and his brother, also named Herbert. Kenneth Moody was 21 years old.
Percy Albert Mills, Class of 1916 - Track & Field
Percy Albert Mills was born and raised in Penngrove, California, in Sonoma County. At Cal he was a member of the Varsity Track team and chairman of the Rally Committee. He was also the business manager of the Blue & Gold Yearbook. After graduating from Cal, he began graduate school at Harvard. Mills left his studies to join the Army in the spring of 1918. He married fellow Cal graduate Frances Brown (Class of 1917) in July 1918, just before he left for France.
Frances Brown Mills, Percy's wife, with the other members of the "Women's Staff" of The Daily Californian in 1917. She is in the back, second from right.
Lt. Percy Mills was in combat repeatedly from September to November 1918 in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and was gassed in taking Hill 360 in the final days of the war. He became ill in the Influenza pandemic and died at Base Hospital No. 93, Mont Dore, France on November 26, 1918. Percy Mills left behind his wife, his parents, William Mills and Lucy Wharff Mills, and four sisters. He was buried at the Suresnes American Cemetery in France. He was 24 years old.
Edward Rankin Brainerd, Jr., Class of 1914 - Crew
Edward Rankin Brainerd, Jr. grew up in Los Angeles. He earned his B.A. in mechanical engineering and rowed for Cal Crew all four years as an undergraduate. After graduation, he studied law at Cal and by the time the United States entered the war, he had returned to Los Angeles and become a successful attorney. He volunteered for service in the U.S. Army in 1918.
Lt. Edward Brainerd died in the influenza pandemic at Camp Taylor, Kentucky on February 16, 1919. He left behind his widowed mother, Louise Brainerd of Los Angeles. He was her only child. Edward Brainerd was 27 years old.
According to the June 1919 California Monthly, 4,194 students, alumni and faculty of the University of California served in the United States military during the First World War, 4,158 men and 36 women. Another 17 Cal alumni served in the British military, 15 in the Canadian military, 5 in the Australian military, and 4 in the French military. At least 94 Cal students, alumni and faculty died in the war.
In 1923, the newly-built California Memorial Stadium was dedicated to their memory and to the memory of all Californians who died in the War. The dedication page of the program for the opening game at Memorial Stadium: