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Stories of Service

Lester W. Chase

Submitted by: T.J. Cullinane

598e42e80de17 Lester W. Chase

Lester W. Chase served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1916 - 1918.


The First to Fall; a Dreaded Milestone

Private Lester W. Chase, a shoemaker turned soldier, was the first service member from Derry, New Hampshire, to die of wounds sustained in combat during the First World War. Even with the 100th anniversary of his death fast approaching, his name remains firmly rooted in the fabric of the town as his fellow veterans elected to designate their meeting place as the Lester W. Chase Post Nine of the American Legion. Three generations of Legion baseball players have taken to the field with his name emblazoned on their chest, just one example of the community activities conducted in his good name.

Chase was pre-deceased by two Derry soldiers who succumbed to pneumonia. Charles E. Bitgood died in France on February 3, 1918, while assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division’s 15th Artillery Regiment. Just 22 years old, he was buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, in Romagne, France. An excerpt from the Derry Enterprise published on February 12, 1918, contained the following sentiment, “Charles E. Bitgood's memory will ever be honored as being the first soldier boy enlisted from Derry to answer the last roll call on the soil of France, while engaged in the service of his country in that foreign land.”

In spite of this exhortation, it is the memory of Lester W. Chase that remains honored rather than that of Bitgood. Such is the “glamor” of death in combat. As we’ll soon see, the death of Lester Chase was anything but glamorous. Based on the information currently available, Frederick R. Huson, the other Derry soldier who died before Chase, appears to have passed away just two weeks after joining the Army. Huson died while undergoing basic training on April 9, 1918 at Camp Devens in neighboring Massachusetts. Bitgood and Huson, along with Chase, are memorialized on the tablet set aside for those who died in service on the town’s World War One monument.

Read more: Lester W. Chase

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Willis Lewis Burnworth

Submitted by: Peter Stassen 

Willis Lewis BurnworthWillis Lewis Burnworth served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 30 1917 - November 1 1918.


Willis Lewis Burnworth was born June 6th, 1891 at Bremen, Fairfield County, Ohio as son of Alderman Burnworth and Lavina Householder.

He was 5'7" tall, had light brown hair and had four brothers and four sisters. Goldie May and Charles Elliot were older than him. The others: Ira Newton, Edgar Wayne, Nellie, Margaret, Viola and Teddy were younger.

After he finished his education at the public schools of Rushcreek Township and Bremen High School, he became a farmer.

Willis entered service (ASN: 1518883) at Bremen on May 30th, 1917 with the Ohio National Guard. He got his basic training with Company D of the 7th Infantry Regiment at Pleasantville, Ohio. On July 15, 1917 this regiment was recalled to federal service. It was now re-designated the 145th Infantry Regiment, and assigned as one of the components of the 37th Division. Willis became a member of Company H.

Read more: Willis Lewis Burnworth

Henry Zeller

Submitted by: Wanda Zeller Peterson {granddaughter}

Henry ZellerHenry Zeller served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known August 28, 1918 to January 27, 1919..


My Grandfather Henry Zeller was in the United States Army, his service number (SN) was: 4 706 169.

His dates of service: He was inducted at Carson, ND on August 28, 1918 and sent to Camp Lewis, WA. He served in the 166th Depot Brigade to September 6, 1918; Company H, 76th Infantry to discharge on January 27, 1919 at Camp Lewis, WA. He was only in for 5 months. He was a Private First Class.

He was born in the United States of parents who were Germans from Russia. He was very proud of his German Heritage and very proud to have served in the US Army. Decorations and Awards per the National Archives and Records Administration: WWI Victory Medal and WWI Victory Button (Bronze).

Read more: Henry Zeller

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Lee A. Dunham

Submitted by: William H. Dunham {son}

Lee A Dunham

Lee A. Dunham served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 07/24/1917 - 03/23/1919.


My father, Lee Dunham, was a member of the Ohio National Guard and served in the 37th “Buckeye” Division, 148th infantry, in the First World War. He fought with the 37th Division in the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne in September 1918, and was transferred to Eyne, Belgium in the Ypres-Lys sector near the end of the war.

After the war, Lee returned to Ohio where he worked as a barber. One day, when I was about 10 years old, I was in the barber shop waiting to get my hair cut. I was snooping through the drawers of the back counter of the ship and came across some medals -- a Purple Heart and a Silver Star!

As I remember, this is what he told me about how he got the medals:

Read more: Lee A. Dunham

Rajab Ali

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Private Rajab Ali served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 23, 1918 to May 29, 1919.


Private Rajab Ali on Januray 13, 1892 in Calcutta, India. He was amrried to Honuffa Ali. She was born on June 4, 1897 in Hooghly, India. He arrived to New York City from Liverpool, England on June 27, 1911. Ali settled down at 134 King St. Charleston, South Carolina after his arrival.

Rajab Ali registrated for the U.S. Army on June 5, 1917. It is importnat to note his drfat card listed his race as white. On June 14, 1916, Ali declared his intent for U.S. naturalization.

He was inducted in the army on June 23, 1918. Ali trained at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. He was part of field artillery unit 12th Battery August Automatic Replacement Draft.

Ali and his unit departed from Newsport News, Virgina on August 22, 1918 for France on ship Dante Allighieri.

Private Rajab Ali returned to his home in Charleston, South Carolina after the war. On October 6, 1919, Ali petitioned for U.S. naturalization.

Read more: Rajab Ali

Sher Khan

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Sher Khan served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 22, 1918- December 6, 1918.


Private Sher Khan was born on January 13, 1890 in Locknow, British East Indies. He came to the United States sometime prior to 1918 and settled down in New York City.

On July 22, 1918, Khan was inducted into the U.S. Army in New York City. He was assigned to 152 Depot Brigade in Camp Upton, New York until his discharge. It is interesting to note that his New York state military service abstract listed him as not white. Sher Khan did not serve overseas. Private Khan was honorably discharged on December 6, 1918.

Sher Khan died on March 20, 1944 at age of 54. He is buried in Old Mission Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.


Read more: Sher Khan

Virgil Harry Stein

Submitted by: Douglas Frye

no photo 300

Virgil Harry Stein served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 8, 1917 to May 17, 1919.


Stein, Virgil H., West Richfield Cemetery, Richfield, OH, WWI, DC/OB: b. 10 May 1891 in Clark, OH, living in the Bellville area for the past six and a half years, d. 12 Nov 1983 in Mansfield, OH, bu. 15 Nov 1983, a veteran of the US Army, SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1MMO

Name: Virgil H. Stein, Serial Number: 94124, Race: W, Residence: Rittman, OH, Enlistment Division: National Guard, Enlistment Location: Wadsworth, OH, Enlistment Date: 8 Jun 1917, Birth Place: Clark, OH, Birth Date/Age: 26 Years, Assigns Comment: Co G 8 Infantry ONG to 16 Aug 1917; Co G 4 Infantry ONG (Co G 166 Infantry) to Discharge Corporal 19 Sept 1917; Sergeant 8 Oct 1918. Champagne-Marne; Aisne-Marne; St Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne; Defensive Sector. Wounded In Action slightly 16 Oct 1918. American Expeditionary Forces 18 Oct 1917 to 25 Apr 1919. Honorable discharge 17 May 1919. Volume #: 16


Harry Shankman

Submitted by: Ronald Miller

Harry Shankman mugHarry Shankman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917/1919.


Harry Shankman’s W.W.I. Service History

PFC Harry Shankman: Private First Class, E-2, Service #1390206

Member of Company "L" (4th Platoon) . . . of the 3rd Battalion . . . Of the 132 Infantry Regiment . . . of the 66th Brigade . . . of the 33rd "Prairie" Division.

The 33 DIVISION (The Prairie Division) was comprised of the troops from the Illinois National Guard. They trained at Camp Logan, TX then sailed for France in May 1918. The 33rd served with the Australians at the Amines sector, and was represented by units at Verdun and at the Meuse-Argonne. As a division, the 33rd Division spent 27 days in active sectors and 32 days in quiet sectors. It captured 3,987 prisoners-a record for a National Guard Division - and advanced 36 km (22 miles) against the enemy while sustaining 989 battle deaths & 6,266 wounded.

Most combat operations were either about 70 miles north of Paris, or about 135 east of Paris.

The 66th Brigade was reformed from the 1st and 2nd Illinois Regiments as part of the 33rd Division at Camp Logan, Texas, in 1917. The Brigade arrived in France aboard the Mt. Vernon at the port of Brest on May 24,1918 for service in World War I. They marched across France starting on May 26th and were within 30 miles of Metz, France when the war ended. Before the Armistice was signed the Brigade had fought at Hamel, Chippilly Ridge, Gussair Woods, the Somme Offensive, Verdun, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and St. Mihiel during their six months in battle. After a brief period serving as part of the Army of Occupation in Luxembourg, the Brigade returned to the United States and was mustered out of federal service in May 1919.

Read more: Harry Shankman

Clarence W. Worst

Submitted by: Robert P. Worst, Sr.

59ca6f449faa9 cww3

Clarence W. Worst served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Unknown .


Served in France as an ambulance driver 1918, with the 28th Division Pennsylvania.

Served with a good friend, by the last name of Goode. They were know as Goode and Worst. Their commanding officer thought was so funny that he gave them a pass to Paris.








Dewey E. Willoughby

Submitted by: Denise Arie

Dewey Willoughby 300

Dewey E. Willoughby served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 18, 1916 - July 3, 1919.


Sgt 124th Machine Gun Battalion (National Guard Division from Illinois) - fought along the Western Front of Le Hamel and in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Was gassed while serving. Died of related health issues at age 47. Son of Wilson and Laura Logue Willoughby. Husband of Leona Roberts Willoughby.









Charles Edward Dilkes

Submitted by: Georgia Dilkes Harris and Virginia Dilkes {daughters}

Charles Edward DilkesCharles Edward Dilkes served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 1, 1917 to September 25, 1919.


Charles Edward Dilkes

OUR FATHER, CHARLES EDWARD DILKES, kept a DAILY DIARY of his military service. His memoir, based on this diary, begins with the night of him leaving America. He wrote: "I wish you could share my anticipation with me when on August 6, 1917, at 6:30 p.m. all men were assembled with full field equipment and at 7:00 p.m. we marched through the huge iron gates...full of spirit and hope." Finally arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey, he boarded the transport Finland, dropped down the bay off Tomkinsville, New York, while the "throbbing of engines acquainted us with our departure from the shores of America." It did not take long for the situation to change. A few weeks later on August 20, 1917, his fleet was within the danger zone. "I was coming on deck when a big explosion occurred, shaking the ship...The Captain from the bridge shouted out, "Why the hell don't you shoot that submarine!...Immediately our fore gun blazed away sending forth its deadly shell..."

When the U.S. declared war on Germany in April 1917, our father’s patriotic spirit rose within him; he volunteered on the 1st of May. With an engineering background, he was assigned to Company F as a combat engineer in the 1st Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and fought under the command of General John J. Pershing. He earned the rank of sergeant, and was consistently called upon to lead his men to build first aid stations, communication trenches, and stables; to repair roads and parapets of the trenches; and to prepare the terrain for battle. This work was often done while he and his men were under enemy fire, which often meant putting down the shovel and picking up the rifle. His recordings of daily and significant enemy encounters stand out not only as consistent with history, but offered great personal insight into the rigors of war. He did not complain. He did not shirk his duties EVER in War, in his work, or with his family.

Read more: Charles Edward Dilkes, Sgt.


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