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1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge
Item #q722
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1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge
Philadelphia   Pennsylvania   Indianapolis   Indiana   Massachusetts   United States   America   American   Americana   France   French   World War I   WWI   Veteran   American Legion   Legionnaire   Organization   U.S. Army   Doughboy   Soldier   Military   Serviceman   War   40 & 8   Pin   Medal   Badge   Insignia   Emblem   Logo   Advertising   Hat   Uniform   Souvenir   Railroad   Train   Nostalgic   Charity   Vintage   History   Historic   Historical
The pictures below show several larger views of this 1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge. The hat appears to be made of blue wool with red piping and a leather head band inside. It has red embroidered lettering that reads as follows:

40/8
41 MASS.
WRECKING CREW
1955 – 56

The medal hanging on the hat has a light blue ribbon with a metal fob that pictures train boxcars with a Soldier inside with a horse, and a Soldier outside. The back is marked:

I.J.W.U.
NO. 10
UNION MADE

Laying flat, the hat measures about 11'' x 6''. The medal appears to be in excellent condition. Unfortunately the hat has some old moth holes as pictured.

Below here, for reference, is some information about the 40 & 8 American Legion Organization:

What is The Forty and Eight?

La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses), is an independent, invitation only, honor society of American Veterans and service members; more commonly known as The Forty and Eight.

The Forty and Eight is committed to charitable and patriotic aims. Our purpose is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, to promote the well being of Veterans, their widows, widowers and orphans, and to actively participate in selected charitable endeavors, which include programs that promote child welfare and nurses training.

The titles and symbols of The Forty and Eight are derived from the experiences of United States troops during World War I. Americans Soldiers were transported to the front on the French rail system. Cramped into narrow gauge boxcars, each stenciled with “40 Hommes/8 Chevaux”, denoting its capacity to hold either 40 men or 8 horses. This uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar common experience for every Doughboy that fought in the trenches; a mutual small misery among American soldiers. Thereafter, they found “40/8” a lighthearted symbol of the deeper service, unspoken horrors and shared sacrifice that bind all who have endured combat.

The Forty & Eight was founded in 1920 by American veterans returning from France. Originally an arm of The American Legion, the Forty & Eight became an independent and separately incorporated Veteran’s organization in 1960. Membership is by invitation of honorably discharged Veterans and honorably serving members of the United States Armed Forces.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forty and Eight
La Société des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux
Abbreviation: 40--8
Named after: Forty and Eight
Formation: March 1920
Founder: Joseph William Breen
Founded at: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Headquarters: 250 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
Area served: Worldwide
Chef de Chemin de Fer: Frank Campo (CA) Since September 16,2023
Sous Chef de Chemin de Fer:
Ronald Garland (FL) Since September 16,2023
John Edelblute IV (WI) Since September 16, 2023
Kevin Johnson(MO) Since September 16, 2023
John Rogers (TX) Since September 16, 2023

La Société des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux (English: “The Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses”), commonly known as the Forty and Eight, is a nonprofit organization of U.S. Veterans headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is made up of state, U.S. territory, and overseas grande, and these are in turn made up of locale. It was founded in March 1920 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as an honor society for the American Legion, by World War I Veteran, and Legionnaire, Joseph William Breen.

History

The Forty and Eight was founded in March, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when World War I Veteran Joseph Breen and 15 other members of The American Legion came together and organized it as an Honor Society for the Legion. They envisioned a new and different level of elite membership and camaraderie for leaders of the Legion.

The organization derives its name from the French Army box cars used to transport American Soldiers to the western front during World War I. Each car had “40-8” stenciled on the side, which meant that it could carry 40 men or 8 horses. The cars were known as “forty and eights” and viewed by the men as a miserable way to travel. The new organization was thus called the “Forty and Eight” in an attempt to make light of the common misery they had all shared.

In 1929 it was described as “the fun making organization of The American Legion”.

In 1959 the Forty and Eight became independent of The American Legion when National Commander Martin B. McKneally discontinued it as an organization within the Legion for having racially discriminatory membership requirements. In 1973 the Forty and Eight modified their membership rules to prohibit discrimination. The organization required its members to also be members of the Legion until 2008.

Eligibility

Membership is by invitation only and open to honorably discharged veterans and active members of the Armed Forces of the United States per a 2008 change to Article IV of the national constitution. Wartime service is not required. From the beginning, the Forty and Eight only allowed men into its ranks, even though many women were Veterans in their own right and thus, could have been eligible. But that changed at the promenade nationale in 2006, when the majority of delegates present voted to allow women into the ranks for the first time.

Activities
The Forty and Eight is involved in several charitable causes.

Child welfare

The Forty and Eight’s first program was designed to provide care and scholarships for the children of servicemen not returning home after World War I. Today the Child Welfare program is mostly involved with providing help for any family with children under 18 that have been devastated by some disaster.

Nurses’ training

The Forty and Eight provides scholarships to people desiring to become nurses under the Nurses’ Training program. A prospective nurse need not be a military veteran to receive aid under this program.

Youth sports

The Forty and Eight also helps to finance sports programs for children who are disadvantaged in some way, such as through mental or physical challenges or lack of money. People who receive this aid need not be military veterans.

The Carville Star

As one of their ongoing programs, the Forty and Eight offers continuing support of the publication, “The Carville Star”, which disseminates the information regarding the research into Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There they have been successful in isolating, controlling and soon, through their research, the development of a vaccine to prevent Hansen’s Disease. “The Star” is published at the former United States Public Health Service Hospital located in Carville, Louisiana. This patient published publication carries the research works of not only this center, but those of the rest of the world, and is translated into and forwarded to 128 countries in addition to a circulation of more than 60,000 in the United States.

Organization

Forty and Eight railroad float, a locomotive on rubber tires owned by the 40-8 voiture at Shortsville, New York, drives in the parade for the Wayne County Fair on August 17th, 2018.

The local unit of the Forty and Eight is the voiture. It often covers a specific county or American Legion post. Above that is the grande. Each state has its own grande, as well as the District of Columbia, and there are grandes for Mexico, France, Latin America and several other locations where U.S. veterans make their homes abroad. The Forty and Eight headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Forty and Eight members refer to each other as voyageurs, in that all members have shared the demands and hardship of military service and have taken the same journey. They are also known as “Forty and Eighters”. The Forty and Eight is down significantly in membership numbers compared to years past, but it is still very much in existence with a membership of about 21,000 in 2019. Although the Forty and Eight is not a secret society, much of the ritual is a secret to non members. A voyageur can disclose that they belong to said organization, but not all of what goes on at its meetings. The Forty and Eight meeting is known as a promenade and has its own set ritual. The ceremony to initiate a new member, known as a P.G. for Poor Goof or Prisoner de Gare into the 40 & 8 is known as a “wreck”. Anyone wishing to enter The Forty and Eight must be wrecked, after which the initiate has earned the right to be referred to as a voyageur militair and a full member.

The Forty and Eight as a whole is divided into regions. These regions follow geographical lines and each region encompasses multiple states. For example, the Central States includes Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The MinnDakota region includes Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Other regions include Heart of Dixie, and Northwest, which includes, among others, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

Click on image to zoom.
1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge 1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge 1955 – 1956 Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Massachusetts American Legion Hat with Medal Badge


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