Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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William Henry Gustafson

William Henry Gustafson was born in 1892 and grew up in Anaconda. He worked at the Anaconda Company’s smelter in the years leading up to the war. Gustafson was drafted into the 4th Infantry Regiment  in June 1917, and was then transferred into the 59th Infantry Regiment. While with the 59th, Gustafson served as a machine gunner. He fought in the Aisne-Marne engagement in July 1918, and was severely wounded on October 10, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. He spent seven months recovering in a field hospital, and returned home in May 1919. After the war, Gustafson went back to work for the Anaconda Company, and later on in the Southern Cross Mine. Listen below to hear Gustafson reflect on his experience overseas, including:

  • His preparation before heading overseas (A Gunner, Not a Marcher)
  • The heavy casualties on the front (Heavy Casualties)
  • The food on the front (Coffee, Tea, and Jam)
  • Tricking German observation planes (How Many Men to a Tent?)

Click here for transcripts of the clips below

Gustafson, William Henry, interview by Laurie Mercier, March 10, 1983, Anaconda, MT, for the Montanans at Work Oral History Project, OH 476, Montana Historical Society Archives. 2 audio tapes (3 hours, 10 minutes) 6-page summary.

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