Tallahassee’s Dr. Charles Moore publishes book of father’s WWI photos

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri — Over 200 remarkable pictures taken by a young American soldier during World War I are featured in a new book published by Tallahassee surgeon Dr. Charles E. Moore.

Dr. Moore presented the first copy of the book to the Missouri State Historical Society in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on July 28, 2022.

Moore’s father, the late Paul Handy Moore, a native of Charleston, Missouri, and later a resident of Tallahassee, volunteered in 1917 for service with the French army and documented his experiences as an ambulance driver on the battlefields of France in a photo album created more than a century ago.

Paul Handy Moore, left, and other volunteers on French ship.  Throughout his time of service, Moore took many photographs with an amateur camera and kept a daily journal.

Those pictures, along with comments the elder Moore made in a daily journal in 1917-18 and an excerpt from his autobiography are all included in the book, which is titled “Brancordier, Section 646” – the name of his military unit.

“Brancordier” is the French word for stretcher-bearer.

At age 19, soon after graduating from Culver Military Academy in Indiana, Moore volunteered to join the French Army, hoping to become a pilot. When he arrived in France in the summer of 1917 aboard a French steamship, the air corps assignment did not materialize; and he was assigned as an ambulance driver.

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Troops enjoying a keg of beer.  Paul Handy Moore's World War I photos have now been enlarged and included in

Throughout his time of service, Moore took many photographs with an amateur camera and kept a daily journal. The tiny pictures in his carefully annotated photo album have now been enlarged and included in “Brancordier” along with the journal entries.

According to Art Wallhausen, associate to the president (emeritus) of Southeast Missouri State University, this combination of words and photos provides an unusually complete picture of what a young American soldier saw and experienced as he picked up wounded soldiers from the trenches and brought them two temporary hospitals behind the lines while dodging shells and shrapnel.

Paul Handy Moore driving his ambulance in WWI.  Throughout his time of service, Moore took many photographs which have now been enlarged and included in the book,

Wallhausen, a former Charlestonian and lifelong friend of the Moore family, also prepared the photographs for publication in the book and wrote the foreword in “Brancardier.”

Although a Mississippi County farm owner much of his adult life, Moore was also employed in a variety of businesses after the war — first by the Washington, DC, Evening Star, and later by Standard Oil Company in the oil fields of Venezuela, and by the Ford Motor Company in St. Louis.

When World War II began in 1941, at age 43 he volunteered for duty in World War II and served four years as a naval officer in the Pacific Theater.

The Moore family at Charleston, Missouri, home in 1919.

Returning to his hometown after the war, he continued farming, became a Dodge-Plymouth dealer, and served terms as City Councilman, Mayor, and President of the Chamber of Commerce.

After retiring from managing his farms, he moved to Tallahassee to be near his son’s family and died there in 1986 at the age of 88.

The 464-page book is now available on Amazon.

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