Major Charles M. Winter and Ed Winter in northeast China, 1919.
Charles Winter of Stone Lake, Wisconsin (at left) and his son Ed (at right) served in the 339th Infantry in northern Russia over the winter of 1918-1919. The 339th, nicknamed the “Polar Bears” and “Detroit’s Own” (due to the large number of Michiganders serving in the division), were ostensibly in Russia to help prevent a German advance. However, they remained there for several months after the official end of World War I, fighting Bolshevik revolutionaries in what author John Evangelist Walsh calls “one of the most fumbling foreign policy actions in our history.”
The Winters traveled through China after what came to be known as the Polar Bear Expedition. Glass negatives from the Stone Lake Area Historical Society show father and son posing in front of landmarks in Beijing and in rural northeastern China. After returning to Wisconsin, Charles Winter developed a fishing camp on Big Sissabagama Lake in Sawyer County.
read more: John Evangelist Walsh, “The strange, sad death of Sergeant Kenney: a personal history of heroism and loss during America’s Russian intervention of 1918-19,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 85:2 (2001-2001); Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan