Arthur A. Cantwell Papers and Still Images,


Arthur Allen Cantwell was born in Shawano, Wisconsin, in 1899 to Dr. William and Hattie Cantwell. After completing high school, Cantwell joined Company F, 4th Wisconsin National Guard. In 1917 the 4th Wisconsin National Guard was federalized as the 107th Supply Train and moved to Waco, Texas, for training. Cantwell, as part of the 107th Supply Train for the 127th Infantry Regiment, moved to Hoboken, New Jersey for transportation to Europe. He was deployed to Europe on the Tuscania in 1918 and survived when it was torpedoed and sunk. In his letters, Cantwell references his military training and calm demeanor as the reason for his survival. While in service, he served as a driver and mechanic, first in France, and then as part of the occupational force in Germany. After his service, Cantwell returned to Shawano, later attending college to become a doctor. Later, he married Alice Davis, and had several children. Cantwell died in Florida in 1970.

The S.S. Tuscania was a private ship that ran the route between England and New York. During World War I it served as a troop ship, moving soldiers from Canada and the United States to England. On January 24, 1918, the Tuscania left Hoboken, New Jersey with members of the 32nd Division on board, destined for England. On February 5, the ship was hit with a torpedo, immediately killing some men, damaging lifeboats and destroying part of the ship. 230 soldiers and crewmen were lost, while the rest were rescued by other ships sailing in the convoy.