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Mail Tribune 100, June 21, 1919

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

June 21, 1919


“Ma” Burdick, 60 year old Salvation Army lassie and war heroine, returned to New York on the Nieu Amsterdam early in May. She was one of the first women war workers in France and one of the last to leave. She cooked flap jacks and mended clothing for the doughboys, serving them night and day. A smile from “Ma” Burdick went with each doughnut, flap jack and piece of pie, and it was these motherly smiles which won for her the title of “Mother” Burdick, “Ma” Burdick for short. “Ma” Burdick held the pie baking record for France with 324 pies in 12 hours and her experiences under fire were more remarkable probably than any of the written or filmed stories of the world war.

“Ma” Burdick came home to help in the conduct of the Salvation Army Home Service campaign for $13,000,000.

“Ma” Burdick worked under shell fire with her silvered head protected by a regulation steel helmet the same as worn by her thousands of adopted sons in the trenches. She worked herself into a state of exhaustion and was found ill in the loft of a shell torn stable and removed to a hospital in Paris. After regaining her strength she insisted on returning to the front and served until shortly before the armistice was signed.

Every member of her family old enough to serve was in the service. Ensign Floyd Burdick, her aged husband, hustled wood for her flap jack fires and mended watches for the doughboys, plying his trade with a jack knife as his only tool and his knees for a work bench. E. Burdick, her son, was fighting in the trenches and Cecil, her daughter, wore the Salvation Army uniform. The family are returning together and will go from New York to their home in Texas after the Salvation Army drive.

“Ma” Burdick arrived in France just as the men of the A. E. F. were being sent forward for training behind the lines and she followed the men forward into the very mouths of German cannon. Her first hostel was opened under the blue sky and heavy rains often spoiled the batter of her flap jacks. Her first cook stove was fashioned from bits of scrap sheet iron and her first cake turner was a piece of tin roofing.

News from 100 years ago