Tailor-made rescue: WWI jacket found, returned to family - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Tailor-made rescue: WWI jacket found, returned to family

Posted: Updated:

By KAREN MANSFIELD, Observer-Reporter

CLAYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A World War I soldier's uniform jacket has been returned to his family in Claysville, a piece of history they never knew existed.

Jay Plants of Claysville recently discovered the jacket in a suitcase that had been left on a curb on Saw Hill Road in East Finley Township for trash pickup about a year ago.

Plants, who jokingly referred to himself as a "dumpster diver," tossed the suitcase into his truck and then stored it in the loft of a building he owns.

It wasn't until earlier this year that he opened the suitcase and found the olive green, wool military jacket.

The name of the jacket's owner, Lee Gashel, who served in the U.S. Army from May 24, 1918, to July 2, 1919, was printed on the inside of the jacket.

"It's really something," said Wilbur Gashel, one of Lee Gashel's five sons. "I couldn't believe it when I found out about it. I sure appreciate it that (Jay) saved it. I'm surprised that it's in such good condition."

The jacket was donated by Plants and Gashel's three surviving sons Wilbur, Ray and Fred, who all live in Claysville, on Nov. 20 to Claysville American Legion Post 639, which Lee Gashel helped to start decades ago.

Wilbur Gashel said his father, who returned to Claysville after the war and worked as a butcher in his family's shop, Gashel's Meat Market, rarely talked about his military experiences.

Lee Gashel, who was part of the Meuse-Argonne campaign in France, the final Allied offensive in the war, did share one memory though: Despite an announcement that the war was going to end on Nov. 11, 1918, soldiers from both sides continued fighting.

"He said when both sides knew it was going to end at 11 o'clock on Nov. 11, they both fired everything they had at each other," recalled Gashel. "He had to go out and help pick up the dead and wounded after the barrage. It took them four days. They knew the war was going to be over, but they hated each other so much they tried to kill as many of the other as they could."

More than 26,000 American soldiers died and over 120,000 total casualties were reported from the bloody battle, according to the National Archives.

The Gashel brothers said they never knew the jacket existed, although they had saved a couple of small relics of war their father brought back with him.

"I never saw (the jacket) before. When we were young, it had to be in the attic in the suitcase," speculated Wilbur Gashel. "We ended up selling the house a long time ago, and I imagine it got left there. I don't know how it ended up on the side of the road."

Lee Gashel was 27 years old when he joined the military. He died in 1985 at the age of 93.

The family unexpectedly got another glimpse into Lee Gashel's life in the Army about a dozen years ago when Wilbur recognized his father while watching a World War I documentary on The History Channel.

Wilbur's daughter contacted the cable television channel and Wilbur purchased a copy of the documentary, which showed his father standing among other soldiers who appear to be preparing to bury a soldier.

Lee Gashel's jacket, along with his hat and leggings, also found inside the suitcase, will be on permanent display in a room at the Legion hall, alongside an antique caisson.

Plants - whose uncle, Larry Sprowls, is a veteran and former mayor of Claysville who helped organize the return of the coat to the Gashel sons - is relieved he rescued a piece of history.

Said Wilbur Gashel, "That jacket is a hundred years old. My dad would be 127 if he were alive. This means a lot. It's amazing."

Online:

https://bit.ly/2BBcM2c

More from Observer-Reporter:

https://observer-reporter.com/

Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Hot ClicksHot ClicksMore>>

  • Mexico's crackdown forces migrants to more dangerous routes

    Mexico's crackdown forces migrants to more dangerous routes

    Friday, April 26 2019 4:21 AM EDT2019-04-26 08:21:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Moises Castillo). Honduran migrants Sandra Montoya, her husband Jose Vallecillo and their daughter Brittany rest on the railroad track before a freight train leaves Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The train known as...(AP Photo/Moises Castillo). Honduran migrants Sandra Montoya, her husband Jose Vallecillo and their daughter Brittany rest on the railroad track before a freight train leaves Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The train known as...
    (AP Photo/Moises Castillo). Honduran migrants Sandra Montoya, her husband Jose Vallecillo and their daughter Brittany rest on the railroad track before a freight train leaves Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The train known as...(AP Photo/Moises Castillo). Honduran migrants Sandra Montoya, her husband Jose Vallecillo and their daughter Brittany rest on the railroad track before a freight train leaves Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The train known as...
    Mexico's crackdown on migration is not cutting off the flow of Central Americans, but rather forcing migrants into the shadows and greater danger, despite government assurances that the central thrust of its policy...More >>
    Mexico's crackdown on migration is not cutting off the flow of Central Americans, but rather forcing migrants into the shadows and greater danger, despite government assurances that the central thrust of its policy is to protect them.More >>
  • Iraq veteran jailed after car plows into pedestrians; 8 hurt

    Iraq veteran jailed after car plows into pedestrians; 8 hurt

    Friday, April 26 2019 1:23 AM EDT2019-04-26 05:23:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Cody Glenn). Police and road crews work the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in ...(AP Photo/Cody Glenn). Police and road crews work the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in ...
    (AP Photo/Cody Glenn). Police and road crews work the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in ...(AP Photo/Cody Glenn). Police and road crews work the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in ...
    Police say a California motorist told investigators that he deliberately drove into a crosswalk in a quiet Silicon Valley suburb, hitting seven people and injuring eight, but did not say why.More >>
    Police say a California motorist told investigators that he deliberately drove into a crosswalk in a quiet Silicon Valley suburb, hitting seven people and injuring eight, but did not say why.More >>
  • Giraffes a tentative step closer toward federal protections

    Giraffes a tentative step closer toward federal protections

    Friday, April 26 2019 1:01 AM EDT2019-04-26 05:01:42 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, March 20, 2018 file photo, giraffes and zebras congregate under the shade of a tree in the afternoon in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extendin...(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, March 20, 2018 file photo, giraffes and zebras congregate under the shade of a tree in the afternoon in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extendin...
    (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, March 20, 2018 file photo, giraffes and zebras congregate under the shade of a tree in the afternoon in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extendin...(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, March 20, 2018 file photo, giraffes and zebras congregate under the shade of a tree in the afternoon in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extendin...
    The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extending protections for giraffes under the Endangered Species Act.More >>
    The Trump administration has taken a first step toward extending protections for giraffes under the Endangered Species Act.More >>
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Warren bail bondsmen arrested after shot fired at car

    Warren bail bondsmen arrested after shot fired at car

    Friday, April 26 2019 10:23 AM EDT2019-04-26 14:23:45 GMT
    Stephan Simpson (L) Donald Allgood (R)Stephan Simpson (L) Donald Allgood (R)
    Stephan Simpson (L) Donald Allgood (R)Stephan Simpson (L) Donald Allgood (R)

    Two bail bond agents are in the Trumbull County Jail after one of them allegedly shot out the tire of a car while trying to stop a woman they were trying to take into custody.

    More >>

    Two bail bond agents are in the Trumbull County Jail after one of them allegedly shot out the tire of a car while trying to stop a woman they were trying to take into custody.

    More >>
  • AP-NORC Poll: Many blame drug firms for opioid crisis

    AP-NORC Poll: Many blame drug firms for opioid crisis

    Friday, April 26 2019 10:22 AM EDT2019-04-26 14:22:19 GMT
    Results of AP-NORC poll on attitudes toward opioid addiction;Results of AP-NORC poll on attitudes toward opioid addiction;
    Results of AP-NORC poll on attitudes toward opioid addiction;Results of AP-NORC poll on attitudes toward opioid addiction;
    Who's to blame for opioid crisis? Many Americans point to drug manufacturers and drug users.More >>
    Who's to blame for opioid crisis? Many Americans point to drug manufacturers and drug users.More >>
  • Biden enters Democratic race with strong anti-Trump theme

    Biden enters Democratic race with strong anti-Trump theme

    Friday, April 26 2019 10:22 AM EDT2019-04-26 14:22:10 GMT
    (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File). FILE - In this March 26, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File). FILE - In this March 26, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York.
    (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File). FILE - In this March 26, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File). FILE - In this March 26, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards in New York.
    Former Vice President Joe Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign.More >>
    Former Vice President Joe Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms