DEVENS -- The Fort Devens Museum will show the documentary film, "Model T's to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front 1914-1918," on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m.

The Fort Devens Museum is located on the third floor of 94 Jackson Road, Devens, and is wheelchair accessible. This program is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The museum's special program for the public this month features a second documentary film compiled by the same researchers, Ed and Libby Klekowski, who told the story on film of the 26th or Yankee Division in World War I that we showed to much acclaim at our August program.

In "Model T's to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front 1914-1918," their research on American involvement in France and Belgium during that war has provided background on the little-known story of voluntary involvement of some 2,500 young American men as ambulance drivers in France before the United States entered the war in 1917.

The film gives us an introduction to several men who experienced ambulance driving under wartime conditions. Central characters are the Model T Fords themselves, fitted out as ambulances, which could become "a home away from home" for the drivers and even provide a means for helping them develop photographs of what went on there.


And, of course, we also see battle scenes, follow ambulances and see what part they played in the overall effort to treat the wounded in battle.

Ed Klekowski steps before the camera to guide us in the present day around sites of battle in which these ambulances carried out their work. There was fighting at Pont-a-Mousson along with that at other small villages, and at the Battle of Verdun, in which all 34 ambulance-driver sections became involved. Verdun, the fortified city, never did fall into German hands, but the battle around it was the longest lasting of the entire war. The Germans had intended an offensive here to wear down the French Army so that France would soon sue for peace, but Germans ended up with equally terrible losses in its own ranks.

The film anticipates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, in 1914. In 2014, a book by the Klekowskis is due on American involvement in France and Belgium during World War I, and they indicate another film on a little-known chapter of the war is in the works.

For information, call 978-772-1286 or email

The Fort Devens Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on this day, Saturday, Oct. 19, with the film to be shown at 1 p.m. At 11 a.m., at the Fort Devens Cemetery on Patton Road, the annual Prisoner-of-War wreath-laying ceremony will take place. All are welcome.