Four of The Michigan Telephone Company’s “Returned Soldiers” - 1919

Four of Michigan Telephone Company’s Returned Soldiers.

Four of Michigan Telephone Company’s Returned Soldiers. Left to Right: Miss Elizabeth M. Shovar, Miss Norma A. Finch, Miss Louise M. Wilcox, Miss Faye R. Honey. Bell Telephone News, November 1919. GGA Image ID # 19ac5da927

Miss Norma B. Finch, Miss Elizabeth Shovar, Miss Faye K. Honey and Miss Louise M Wilcox, employees of the Michigan State Telephone Company, have just returned from serving as telephone operators in France.

They left Detroit in July 1918 and sailed from New York on the 5th day of August, arriving in Liverpool August 13th, after a pleasant but unexciting trip. From Liverpool they went to Tours by way of Southampton, Havre and Paris, stopping only long enough for the necessary transfers in those places, arriving in Tours on the 15th day of August.

At Tours they were assigned to their offices and the thirty operators, who had been together since leaving from the United States, were sent to all parts of France. Of the four from Michigan, Miss Honey was sent to Bordeaux, and Miss Wilcox, Miss Finch and Miss Shovar to Paris.

In Paris fifty Signal Corps operators lived at the Hotel Ferres, which was called the Signal Corps House. Mrs. Lulu Taylor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the YWCA hostess at this hotel. Mrs. Taylor had had a great deal of experience in work with girls as she had charge of the Martha Cook dormitory at the University of Michigan for several years. She planned many pleasant hours for the operators who lived at the Signal Corp House.

Miss Wilcox, Miss Finch and Miss Shovar were in Paris at the time of the biggest air raid, which occurred September 16tb by working the day that they were scheduled to be off duty one week they could arrange to have two days the following week, and this gave them ample time to visit such points of interest as Soissons, Chateau Thierry, Rheims, and Chemin des Dames. In Paris they had many opportunities to see most of the leading men of the allied countries.

After spending five months in Paris. Miss Finch was sent to Bordeaux for five months. She was there for the Peace Day celebration, June 28th. She then returned to Paris, where she spent the rest of the year. Miss Finch and Miss Wilcox were in Paris for the 4th of July, when, as Miss Shovar said, “everyone tried to see how much they could do for the Americans.”

Miss Shovar was recommended for advancement to a supervisory position and received her appointment February 9, 1919. Miss Finch was also recommended but no more promotions were being approved at that time.

Miss Honey spent the year in Bordeaux, except for the last month, when she was sent to Tours. Her fourteen-day leave was spent in and around Nice. Miss Honey and Miss Wilcox left Bordeaux August 9th on the “Niagara” and arrived in New York August 21st. Before going overseas they were toll operators in Detroit and have returned to their work in that office.

Miss Shovar and Miss Finch returned in August on the “La Savoie.” Miss Finch has returned to her home in Hillsdale and her position with the Michigan State Telephone Company there. Miss Shovar is on a leave of absence visiting relatives. She is an instructor in the Toll Training Department in Detroit.

M. Ethel Bigelow, “Four of The Michigan Telephone Company’s ‘Returned Soldiers’,” in Bell Telephone News, Detroit Edition, Vol. 9, No. 4, November 1919. p. 8.

Return to Top of Page

World War I
Hello Girls in the Great War
GG Archives

Telephone Operators in the Great War




World War 1 Collection

Primary Military Collections