Livingston woman recalls father’s experiences during World War I

Samantha Hill

Local resident Kay Burg had a lot to say about her father on Monday after the anniversary of the first World War last week.
L.H. Bryan was a doughboy in the Army during the war and ended up getting stationed in Siberia during that time, about 1918.
Burg displayed some her favorite photographs from a collection she kept hidden somewhere in her home.

One of the black and white photos displayed a ship, with large chunks of snow and ice cemented to the bow. The back of the photo read, “This is to prove how cold it is here.”

Burg’s favorite story about his time in the war regards the sword he received.

From what she was told, he was sitting on the train traveling to guard a Red Cross facility in Vladisvostock, when a Czech soldier asked him for a razor. Bryan agreed and in exchange received a sword from the man. The sword was caked in blood, from fighting Bolsheviks.

Bryan kept the sword for a number of years until it was stolen from the mantel in his cabin in Big Timber in the 1940s.

After almost 30 years, someone found the sword and Bryan was able to get it back because it had his inscription written on the side. At the time in 1970, the Billings Gazette did a feature on him and the sword. Burg displays the article prominently among her things.

“They wanted to get a picutre of daddy with his sword,” Burg said.

The stories Burg described happened long before her birth in 1932, but after her father’s death in 1992 at 99 years old, she kept a tight grip on those photos, to not lose the memories.

The photo collection was one of her parents’ only possessions, she said.

As for the sword, it was given to Burg’s nephew after her father and mother died within a week of each other. The sword is now locked up tightly in the nephew’s home in Minnesota.

Burg said she hopes to see the sword one more time, just because it meant so much to her father.