100 years ago in Spokane: A phony major blamed booze and infatuation on his ‘unbecoming’ conduct at the Davenport
Sun., March 19, 2023
Major Forbes Robertson of the U.S. Marines impressed his fellow guests at the Davenport Hotel and was “lavishly entertained” by a number of Spokane people.
Until he got liquored up and started passing bad checks, that is.
Police arrested him and found out he was not Major Forbes Robertson at all. He was Sgt. Leo Gerth, 23, a first sergeant on leave from his Bremerton posting.
The Spokane Daily Chronicle checked with the local Marine recruiting officer, which discovered that Sgt. Gerth had a “brilliant record in the Marine Corps,” but was certainly not a major.
“He claimed that he was intoxicated last week and that liquor was responsible for his predicament,” the recruiting officer said.
Gerth would later claim he had become infatuated with a Spokane woman he met on a ship and followed her to Spokane, posing as an officer “to be better able to make the path of love go smoothly.”
In addition to the local charges, he now faced court-martial for conduct unbecoming of a Marine and impersonating an officer.
Fort George Wright’s Fourth Infantry troops were planning a little “hike” in the summer.
They were going to march nearly 400 miles across the state to Camp Lewis (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord, outside of Tacoma).
The plan was to march 20 miles per day, and camp out along the way.
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