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Former Sam Student's
Clark, a book editor and Marine Corps historian, knew his friend had come across something big. A short time later, Clark found himself hard at work editing the manuscript for publication.
The book, titled "His Time in Hell: A Texas Marine in France" and published in 2001 by Presidio Press, details the war experiences of Warren R. Jackson, a U.S. soldier in the 95TH Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. Turns out, Jackson has strong ties to Huntsville.
"His original title page shows that he listed Huntsville, Texas as the place of origin of the manuscript," Clark said in the book's introduction. "Many phone calls to historical societies in that city, advertisements in the local newspaper, and even several calls to men named Jackson leave me with no more information than I now have about him. And, unfortunately, that is practically nothing."
Clark said he feels that Jackson originally came to Huntsville from Leming, Texas, to go to the Sam Houston Normal Institute, based on evidence provided by Barbara Mason of Sam Houston State University's historic Peabody Library. Jackson also mentions having a friend named Lucy living in Huntsville whom he stopped to visit on his way to his home in Houston after the war.
Records from the SHSU registrar's office indicate Jackson was enrolled at the Sam Houston Normal Institute from June 1914 through the Fall of 1915 and returned in Sept. 1921. Documents show he was an active member in the Y.M.C.A. from 1921-22.
It lists his birth date as Nov. 25, 1896. The records also indicate one of his parents was a teacher and the family attended a Methodist church.
Unfortunately, nothing else is really known about Jackson, who is believed to have written the manuscript in the late 1920s. However, it is known that Jackson had luck on his side. Jackson was not a well-known war hero, but he must have done something right, Clark said.
"He managed to last out the entire war, from Verdun to the Meuse River campaign and through the occupation of Germany," said Clark.
"He even managed to escape the terrible influenza epidemic. If what he says is close to the truth, he might have been the only Marine in the company to have stayed the entire route, from beginning to end.
"He became a corporal, so he must have done something right, though he claims he tried hard to have that promotion rescinded."
The book begins with his first days at Paris Island, which wasn't named Paris Island until 1919, and ends with the final statement "Home at last!" From start to finish, Jackson provides a massive description of what it was like to be a Marine during recent history's first major war. Though the manuscript was written 10 years after the fact, it clearly describes the nature of combat.
"Mud, mud, mud! Everything, everywhere was covered with mud," Jackson explains at one point. "There was mud on our hands, mud on our helmets, mud on our faces, mud on our uniforms, and shoes. It was impossible to get away from or to forget that abiding, clinging, sticky mud."
Descriptions such as that fill the pages.
"Warren Jackson was an intelligent man and well able, unlike so many other men of his time, to elucidate clearly what had happened to him 10 years before," said Clark. "Fortunately, it was not so long a period to forget and yet soon enough to have some obviously strong emotional experiences he wanted to tell about."
Not only was Jackson promoted to corporal, but also was awarded two Silver Stars and the Croix de Guerre.
Clark lives in Pike, New Hampshire. His previous books include "With the Old Corps in Nicaragua" and "Devil Dogs: Fighting Marines in World War I."
Hastings Books Music and Video in Huntsville usually has a copy of the book on the shelves, according to a manager of the store. If enough copies aren't available, Hastings will order more. The book is priced at $24.95 with photos, maps and details written by Clark.
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