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Fenton, Powel

Fenton, Powel Public Domain. Friends of France, 1916.
  • When: WWI, WWII
  • Where: France, Balkans
  • Category of People: WWI Driver, WWII Driver
  • Last Name: Fenton
  • Given Name(s): Powel
  • Position/Role/Affiliation: Mechanical Officer
  • Born: May 18, 1890
  • Died: March 6, 1986
  • WIA: Yes
  • Section (WWI): S.S.U. 3; S.S.U. 10
  • Length of Service (months): 27
  • Service Year(s): 1915-16-17
  • Home (at time of Enlistment in WWI): Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Subsequent Service: 1st Lt. U.S. Av.
  • Decorations: Croix de Guerre WWI
  • Unit (WWII): FR 40
  • Home (at time of Enlistment in WWII): Paris, France
  • Education: Univ. of Pennsylvania

Powell* Fenton was born on May 18, 1890, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to ophtalmologist Thomas Hanover Fenton (1856-1929) and Lizzie Spear Remak (1857- ca. 1928). He was the youngest of three children.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1914 and left for Paris where he joined SSU 3 at the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris in February 1915.
In April 1915 SSU 3 left Paris for Alsace where it was attached to the 66e Division d'Infanterie until January 1916. On July 23, 1915, the Transportation Committee appointed Fenton Mechanical Officer for SSU 3, stationed in the Vosges, France, where he oversaw approximately twenty-two Ford ambulances during the most severe fighting. In 1916 the French government awarded Fenton the Croix de Guerre for his distinguished service in Alsace.

CITATION À LA 66ème DIVISION
Le Conducteur FENTON, Powel, de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine N° 3, sujet Américain: ˗˗
"A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."

Fenton served until May 1916. He returned to the American Ambulance Field Service in August of the same year.

He served with SSU 3 and SSU 10 on the Balkan front, was "mentioned" in an Ordre de la Brigade, 57e Division, Armée d'Orient and returned to Paris from Salonica on August 21st, 1917, together with a group of SSU 3 drivers.

Powel Fenton served a total of 27 months with the Field Service. Subsequently he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the U. S. Army.

In 1930 he was living in Paris.

During World War Two he served as a volunteer with the American Red Cross in France. He was arrested by the Nazis in December 1941 and interned as prisoner of war at Frontstalag 122 (camp de Royallieu) in Compiègne where he remained for over two years, until the Allies liberated France in May 1944. Fenton was repatriated to the U.S. after the end of the war.

He passed away in Philadelphia in March 1986 at the age of 95.

* Fenton's first name is spelled with one or two "l" depending on the various sources.