"Like some real-life Private Ryan...'The Return of Paul Jarrett' is a moving tribute to the men that fought (WW1)...Jarrett captures the war's horror...a dazzling documentary"
- Bruce Watson - New Hampshire Gazette
The Great War...
Ten years in the making, this award-winning documentary is the only one of its kind and, more importantly, the last of its kind. Lieutenant Jarrett, a company hand-to-hand combat expert with the heroic 42nd “Rainbow Division," was wounded three times while serving in France along the "Western Front" from 1917-1918.
70 Years Later...
We follow 93 year old Paul Jarrett, a decorated American World War I veteran, as he returns to trenches of France to visit those nightmarish days and nights of the Great War.
During his quest to find the actual sites where he stood as a young 22 year old officer, French villagers are amazed to see this ancient warrior in their midst as they have only read about "American Doughboys" in history books. Their reaction to his spontaneous arrival reveals the love and affection the French people still have for all Americans that defended their country three-quarters of a century earlier. ( Lt. Jarrett is seated first at the far left, 2nd row, with the long white swagger stick)
One Year Later...
Paul returns to France once again and is celebrated as few Americans have been when a street is named in his honor.
Seven years later, the French government bestows upon Lieutenant Paul Jarrett -- now age 101--its highest decoration for bravery: Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Official military photo of Lt. Paul Jarrett, age 22, before embarking for France in
November of 1917.
Lt. Jarrett stands in front of a French house in Brest, having
just landed on November 10, 1917. His ship, the USS Agamemnon—formerly the
S.S. Kaiser Wilhelm II, a German passenger steamship--was forced to anchor here
instead of landing at St. Nazaire as planned, as a pack of German submarines
were threatening to attack. He was the first officer sent ashore to organize the
living quarters for company M. The men were stationed in stables used by
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s cavalry over one hundred years earlier.
Paul as he entered his quarters, a deserted French house in Neuviller, France, in
May of 1918. As Officer of the Day, he has just returned from searching the entire
village for Germans that had infiltrated the town the night before and had killed
an American sentry. Notice his holster is still pulled back exposing his Colt .45.
Also, the wine bottle does not hold wine, it actually holds oil for the officers to
lubricate their Colt .45s.
Paul’s personal items from left to right:
Photo of the 2nd Lieutenants that were chosen from the 166th Infantry Regiment
just before they boarded buses to head to the British trenches to receive their
training in “trench knives and bayonets.” It was Christmas Eve, 1917.
Paul’s American trench knife was fifteen inches long with a blue-steel triangular
blade and a brass-knuckled hand guard. In the confines of a dirt trench this was a
“virtual one-man-killing-machine.” A puncture wound to the lower abdomen was
His compass that helped direct him to the exact holes in the German barbed-wire
that his artillery would create for his platoon when attacking the German
His 42nd “Rainbow” Divisional patch.
This model 1911 Colt .45 was Paul’s best friend during the war and it saved his
life on many occasions; especially on his special raids into German trenches. As
the company expert in hand-to-hand combat the Colt .45, along with his special
trench knife, are the only weapons Paul carried during his entire time on the
Paul, now almost 102 years of age, enjoys dinner after being awarded France’s
highest award for bravery, Knight of Legion of Honor. The town of Neuviller-les-
Badonviller requested the President of France to award this honor to Paul for
helping save their town during WWI, and for bravery which he exhibited on May
3, 1918, during his attack on German trenches. After the attack Lt. Jarrett sent his
men back to safety and personally helped carry one of his dead soldiers back to
the American lines as his official orders were to “leave no man dead or alive.”
The four platoon commanders from Company M, 166th Infantry Regiment, 42nd “Rainbow” Division, pose for a photo before their first all-American attack on the German trenches in the Bois de Chien (Dogwoods) just outside of Neuviller, France, May 3rd, 1918 (Paul is seated on the far left).
Paul’s Knight of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier de Légion d'honneurr) medal.
Created by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802 it is France’s highest award for bravery. Paul
was awarded this distinction for his actions on May 3rd, 1918 when leading his platoon
against fortified German trenches and concrete bunkers. This was the 42nd Division’s
first all-American attack of the war (without French or British help) in the French
Baccarat Sector on the Western Front. Paul’s unit would make it all the way to the
German 2nd-line trench with only one soldier being killed.
Paul Jarrett, age 94, relaxes after exploring the German trenches and cement bunkers that he and his platoon attacked on May 3, 1918, outside of Neuviller. With 1,000 men of the “Rainbow” Division attacking the enemy, his mission was to make it all the way to the 2nd-line German trench, clear it out, and return to his trench-line, which literally ran down the middle of main street in Neuviller. His mission was a total success with the loss of only one of his men.
Lt. Jarrett, in May of 1919, at his family’s cattle ranch soon after returning from France.
Paul was in terrible physical condition. He was still suffering from three injuries suffered
at the end of the war: a broken knee injured during an artillery explosion and internal
mustard gas wounds that burned his esophagus, stomach and small intestine. In
addition, he had also survived one of the worst pandemics in human history, the 1918
Influenza (also known as the Spanish Flu). This pandemic killed between 40-50 (and
possibly up to 100 million) people world wide. It would take Lt. Jarrett several years to
Don’t let this moving educational history documentary pass you by!
Educate yourself, your children, students or customers about this important and little understood conflict in Europe from 1914 to 1918 called World War I!