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Stories of Service

Lau Sing Kee

Submitted by: Guy Takamatsu

Lau Sing Kee mug

Lau Sing Kee served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 18, 1918 to April 25, 1919.

World War I hero and highest decorated enlisted man from San Jose: Lau Sing Kee (1896 -1967)

By Guy Takamatsu

This writer learned of Lau Sing Kee on a visit to the Chinese Museum located at History Park, a subsection of Kelley Park in San Jose. His medals are on the display, courtesy on loan of his relatives. He won the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart from the United States and the Croix de Guerre from France. Lau Sing Kee was born in Saratoga, his family moved to San Jose. He died in New York City.

Sgt. Lau Sing Kee is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Here is a link to his grave marker in Arlington. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=48767981

He received his medals for staying 3 days straight at a message center. In spite of his position being shelled and gassed, he refused to leave his post. At one point he was by himself for 24 hours. One wonders how he managed to survive and live until 1967. Others who had been gassed died shortly thereafter in about two years. After the war he received a hero’s welcome in San Jose.

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Howard Lonnie Johnson

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

58e2ae057d08a Johnson HL headstone

Howard Lonnie Johnson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1918-1918.

 

Howard Lonnie Johnson was born on November 24th, 1897 in the Berkley section of Chesapeake as the fourth of eight children. He was working as a painter in South Norfolk in 1918 when he registered for the draft and was sent to Camp Lee for training as a Private with Company D, 19th Battalion, Infantry Reserve Training Center (IRTC). He died there on October 5th, 1918 of influenza and is buried in Riverside Memorial Park in Norfolk.

The inscription on his tombstone reads, “Our Soldier Boy”

 

 

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John Wespe

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Submitted by: MCPO Michael J. Norrod, USN (Ret.) {grandson}

John WespeJohn Wespe served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known WWI 1917 to 1919.

 

My grandfather, John Wespe, served in the U.S. Army in WWI.

He was born 1887 in Louisville, Kentucky, orphaned and raised in a Catholic Orphanage.

He worked as a candy maker at the National Candy Company in Louisville from 1900 to 1917.

He went from Private to 1stLt by the end of the war.

He enlisted May 8th, 1917 at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Subsequently serving in Company M of the 30th Infantry Regiment. Initially at Camp Syracuse, New York and then at Camp Greene, North Carolina. He departed for Europe February 27, 1918 and was attached to the 359th Infantry Regiment. Serving in Europe from then until June 7, 1919. His company commander was Capt. Mark Clark, later to gain fame as a four star general in WWII and the Korean War. They remained life long friends and my mother remembered meeting him several times as a young girl.

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Simpson Hunter

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

Simpson Hunter served in World War 1 with the no photo 300United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1918.

 

Simpson Hunter was born on December 23rd, 1896 in Camden, South Carolina and was working as a “laborer” with the NS Wood Preserving Company in “Buell, Virginia” when he filled out his draft registration card in 1917. Buell is the industrial area of Money Point just west of route 464 in Chesapeake, along the Elizabeth River.

Simpson was assigned to the 511th Engineer Battalion (Colored) as a Private. The regiment was formed at Camp Lee in January 1918 before being deployed overseas in March. The 511th was responsible for “general construction”.

Simpson died on April 16th, 1918 in France and is buried in the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in Île-de-France just outside Paris along with 1541 of his countrymen.

 

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James Francis Curry

Submitted by: Mary C. Curry

5915d0c20f440 JFC   PVT   WWI

James Francis Curry served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 27 May 1918 - 13 May 1919.

 

Private James Francis Curry, 2659635, Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania. Inducted at Akron, Ohio, 27 May 1918. Infantry training at Camp Gordon, Georgia, May 1918 – July 1918.

Served overseas with the AEF, U.S. 42nd “Rainbow” Division, 165th Infantry, Company “L”. Engagements: St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Advance on Sedan, July 1918 – April 1919. 2nd Co., Ist. Tr. Btn., 158th Depot Brigade, May 1919.

Honorably discharged at Camp Sherman, Ohio, 13 May 1919.

 

 

William Jerome Gill

Submitted by: Jill Pender {granddaughter}

no photo 300

William Jerome Gill served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Unknown .

 

My grandfather (William J. Gill) and his identical twin brother, George Vincent Gill were both drafted out of NYC early in the war and served in France. My grandfather was a noncombatant but George was seriously wounded, shell-shocked and gassed and never fully recovered.

Twins were not as typical in those days, but the brothers were very close. When George was wounded and MIA, my grandfather could not believe he was dead. This was confirmed on a street in Paris when another soldier ran up to him and yelled: "GEORGE you look great! Last time I saw you in the hospital, I did not know if you would make it."

George and my grandfather left service and both received free Taxi Medallions based on their service, and started up a small taxi service on the West Side of NYC near what is now Lincoln Center. George later joined the Bonus Marchers, not because he had an economic need, but to support the other "fellows."

George sadly died in 1960 after falling off the Staten Island Ferry, but my grandfather lived into his 70's. They are both buried at the veterans cemetery in NY.

 

Dan Holley

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

no photo 300Dan Holley served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1918-1919.

 

Dan Holley was born in 1893 and lived near the North Carolina border when he joined the Army late in the war.

He was a Private with Company E, 543rd Engineer Service Battalion (Colored) in December 1918 when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and he died less than two months later, on February 9th, 1919, in the Embarkation Hospital at Camp Stuart, in Newport News.

 

He is buried in a family cemetery in Moyock, North Carolina

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Norman Albert Hempel

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

no photo 300Norman Albert Hempel served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1918.

 

Norman Albert Hempel was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 3rd, 1901. His father was a German immigrant who worked as an officer with the Salvation Army.

On his draft registration card, Norman listed himself as a Christian and a member of the fraternal order, Modern Woodmen of America (WMA). He made his home at 41 B Street, South Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, where his mother, Rose, moved after his death.

Norman enlisted in the US Naval Reserve Force in Norfolk on May 16th, 1917 and was assigned to the Navy collier (coal carrier), Cyclops, as a coxswain when he too caught pneumonia and died on June 14th, 1918. He was buried at sea.

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John P. Gorman

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

no photo 300John P. Gorman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1918-1918.

 

John P. Gorman was born on November 6th, 1890 and living in South Norfolk in 1917.

He was training at Camp Lee (now known as Fort Lee) as a Private with Company L, 317th Infantry Regiment when he caught pneumonia. He died at the Base Hospital on April 22nd, 1918 at the age of 27. His sister, Mrs. H.R. Cherry is the only relative listed on his death certificate.

He is buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Norfolk

 

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Arthur M. Donahue

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

Arthur M Donahue mugArthur M. Donahue served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1918.

 

At just 17 years of age, Arthur M. Donahoe was already a Corporal when he was shot in the head and killed in Argonne France on October 15th, 1918.

Donahoe was part of the 318th Regiment, 80th Division, which was made up almost entirely of Virginians. Activated in 1917, the regiment was part the massive Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one of the war’s final, bloody trench-warfare battles.

Arthur is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.

 

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Truman Lazarus Brown

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

no photo 300Truman Lazarus Brown served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1918.

 

Truman Lazarus Brown was born on July 21st, 1892 in Bertie, North Carolina and was the middle of three boys.

By 1917, he was working as a carpenter with the Norfolk & Southern Railroad when he signed up with the US Army as a Private.

He was assigned to the 166th Infantry Regiment, of the vaunted 42nd “Rainbow” Division. Truman was killed during the Aisne-Marne Offensive in France on July 29, 1918 and is buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France

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