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The 40&8 Maryland Box Care
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The B&O Railrod Museum, Baltimore

2013-2014 Grande Chef de Gare

Will Trotter


La Societe des Quarante Hommes at Huit Chevaux is an independent, by invitation, honor organization of male and female U. S. veterans, more commonly known as theForty & Eight.

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

The titles and symbols of the Forty & Eight reflect its First World War origins.  Americans were transported to the battle front on French trains within boxcars stenciled with a “40/8”, denoting its capacity to hold either forty men or eight horses.  This uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar to all who fought in the trenches; a common small misery among American soldiers who thereafter found “40/8” a lighthearted symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war that bind all who have borne the battle.

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


Maryland Merci Car
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The Baltimore & Ohio Museum, 901 W. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD, 21223, (410) 752-2490

The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens.  They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948.  The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars.   The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii.

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Forty et Eighter Newsletters

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