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Eugene Desch was part of the Johns Hopkins unit Base Hospital No.18 consisting of Johns Hopkins University doctors and Johns Hopkins Hospital nurses. Activated in May 1917, it was the first American hospital unit to enter France during World War 1. Eugene R. Desch enlisted in May 1917, and was an orderly to J.M.T. Finney, major and chief surgeon of the unit. After the war, Desch was a subscriber to the Base Hospital No. 18 Post of the American Legion newsletter, “Death Valley News”. Starting in 1958, Desch organized the unit’s biennial reunions culminating in a final 50th reunion celebration on June 17, 1967. From 1969 to 1973, Desch issued an annual report listing communications from the unit’s veterans.

Scope and Content

The Eugene Desch Collection consists of correspondence, newsletters, photographs and memorabilia of the Johns Hopkins unit Base Hospital No.18. The collection includes a history of the unit written by a committee in 1919. The collection is particularly strong in material related to the “Bazoilles 1917 Fighting Eighteen” Base Hospital 18 Johns Hopkins Unit reunions from 1952 to 1973 including their 50th reunion in 1967.

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