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Stories of Service

George Kirbey Traylor

Submitted by: Patrick F. Huston

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George Kirbey Traylor served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known 1917 - 1918.

 

Private. A veteran who served overseas in France. Assigned to an American army infantry division fighting on the western front lines. Awarded the WWI victory medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred G. Zeits

Submitted by: Carol Hylton

no photo 300Alfred G Zeits served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known June to August 7, 1918.

 

Alfred's mother, a Bohemian immigrant to Traverse City, MI, had 7 sons, four of whom served in the first World War. The other three brothers returned, but Alfred died of wounds suffered in action on the Vesle River during the Second Battle of the Marne.

He was 25 years old and was buried in an American military cemetery on a road between Fere-en-Tardenois and Beauvardes, France.

 

 

 

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Gilbert W. Zeits

Submitted by: Carol Hylton

Gilbert W ZeitsGilbert W. Zeits served in World War 1 with the the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known March 21,1918 to May 20th, 1919 .

 

Gilbert's mother, an immigrant from Bohemia, had 7 sons, four of whom fought in the first World War. Three sons were in the Army and one in the Navy. They all lived in Traverse City, Michigan.

The eldest brother, Alfred Zeits was killed and is buried in France. He served with the 11th Machine Gun Battalion.

Gilbert served from March 21,1918 to May 20th, 1919 and was able to visit the battlefields and places they stayed in France in 1981 with his surviving daughter. He took part in the battles of Argonne Forest and St. Mihiel.

The French government issued him a medal, as did the McCormick Foundation, which were thanking vets for their service after 75 years, this in 1993.

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Ernest E. Butell

Submitted by: Harold Jehle

Ernest E ButellErnest E. Butell served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known May 1917 - November 1919.

 

"Honest and faithful" reads the enlistment record of Sergeant Ernest E. Butell of Baldwin City, Kansas, who enlisted May 5, 1917 as a volunteer before the first draft was held on May 18, 1917.  

He served in the 1st Kansas Infantry from his enlistment until October, 1917 and then was a member of Company H, 137th Infantry, 35th Division.  He was trained at Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma by battle experienced British and France instructors.  There were not enough American Regular Army instructors to train the nearly 700,000 draftees who flooded the newly established camps in 1917.

Sergeant Butell departed from Camp Mills, New York on April 27, 1918 for France.  While receiving additional training near the Vosges Mountains, one unit from his division made a raid on a German position bringing back five prisoners. 

At St. Mihiel, the division was held in reserve which meant spending time in pup tents during the celebrated French rains.  Later began the rough trip in 200 French trucks across the ruts that were called roads to the area of Grange-Le-Conte, a wooded area east of Beauchamp until September 26th.

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Major Louis Cukela

Submitted by: Paul Burgholzer

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Major Louis Cukela served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps . The dates of service are: Known 1917-1946.

 

Major Louis Cukela was born in the Croatian city of Split, which at the time existed under the domain of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. He immigrated from the Balkans to the United States in 1913. He served in the US Army from 1914-1916 and then joined the US Marines and served with them during the First World War.

He was famous for speaking in broken English. Once he was reprimanding a negligent subordinate and famously said “Next time I send damn fool, I go myself." This phrase was jokingly spread among the ranks of front-line soldiers. It is rumored that even General Pershing used the phrase once.

As a Sergeant during the Battle of Soissons Cukela ignored warnings from his fellow soldiers and crawled around the flank of a German stronghold. He charged the stronghold with his bayonet where he attacked and drove away German troops. He then picked up German grenades and tossed them at the other enemy positions in the stronghold. He captured four men, damaged two machine guns, and captured a German stronghold single handedly.

He was decorated for this heroic feat and received two Medals of Honor one from the Navy and one from the Army.

 

Victor Hagemann

Submitted by: Shawn Waldron 

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Victor Hagemann served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The dates of service are: Known March 1918 - war's end?.

 

Victor L. Hagemann, World War I Veteran


Shared by John Hiltz to my class after we had researched our local monument that had his grandfathers name:

"I want to tell you some about my grandfather, Victor L. Hagemann. On the Merchantville Memorial, his name was misspelled and he is listed as Victor Hagerman. My grandmother told me that he was livid at the unveiling when he saw that his name was misspelled.

"When the United States entered the war, Victor was 20 years old and an accounting student at the University of Pennsylvania. He lived with his father and step-mother at 14 E. Walnut Avenue in Merchantville. He wanted to join the Navy before he was drafted. He considered being drafted before he could enlist as a sign of dishonor. However, in those days you were not considered to be an adult until you turned 21, so join the Navy, he had to have his parents sign a permission form. His father, Albert C. Hagemann refused to sign. Victor joined anyway, lying about his age. When Albert found out, he went and brought Victor home.

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Jacob Feldman

Submitted by: Ben Katzberg

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Jacob Feldman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1909- September 1918.

 

The Story of Jacob Feldman


First Lieutenant Jacob Feldman of 17 West Park Avenue, Merchantville, was killed under heroic circumstances. He was attached to Company D, 110th Infantry, formerly the 3rd Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania.

Feldman was mortally wounded on September 12, 1918, in the Marancourt sector, in the advance on Hill 212. All of the officers of the company were casualties and Feldman assumed command and reformed the unit and ordered the charge. As they dashed across the open ground he was hit in the stomach by an explosive bullet and fell. He struggled to his feet and beckoned his men on. He was struck by two more bullets and fell. Handing his papers to First Sergeant Harold M. Nash, he shouted "Forward, men!" He died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He was buried at Reddy Farm, near Cohan, the following day.

His regiment had gone overseas in April, 1918, and participated in the Chateau-Thierry battle. He was the son of Isaac & Dora Feldman, of Merchantville NJ, and had several brothers and sisters.

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William Addison Winner

Submitted by: Justin McKay

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William Addison Winner served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 21, 1918 - November 27, 1918.

 

Corporal William Addison Winner, was born in Burlington, New Jersey on May 29, 1890. He was living in Riverton, New Jersey when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. Later on, he moved to 26 Volan Street in Merchantville, New Jersey.

William A. Winner was inducted into the United States Army on May 21, 1918 at Beverly, New Jersey. After training at Camp Dix, he was sent to Camp Joseph E. Johnston in Jacksonville, Florida in July, 1918. He was promoted to Corporal on August 8, 1918 and was sent overseas shortly afterwards. Corporal Winner was assigned to Company M, 417th Motorized Supply Train, attached to the American First Army.

Winner survived the fighting in France only to fall victim to the Spanish flu that took the lives millions worldwide in 1918 and 1919. He passed away in Romagne, France on November 27 1918 due to the illness. He is buried Meuse Argonne American Cemetery, Plot C, Row 44, Grave 36.

 

Henry J. Bowes

Submitted by: Tommy Le

no photo 300Henry J. Bowes served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The dates of service are: Known April 1917- August 1918.

 

Lieutenant Junior Grade Henry J. Bowes, of Wellwood Avenue and Volan Street, Merchantville, lost his life when the Submarine Chaser 209 was sunk off Fire Island on August 27th, 1918. He was in command of one of eleven chasers as part of the "Patterson Group", an antisubmarine unit whose flagship was the USS Patterson DD-36.

When the armed merchantman Felix Taussig mistook the chasers for German submarines and opened fire, the 209 was sunk, killing 18 and leaving 4 more wounded. The fatal mistake was made 150 miles off Fire Island, after three destroyers had left the twelve chasers. Two other chasers were sunk in the battle.

Lieutenant Bowes had enlisted in the Naval Reserve before the country entered the war in April, 1917, in Pennsylvania, where he had lived for several years. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Evaline Humphreys Bowes, and his son, Henry E. Bowes, of Merchantville. They remained in Merchantville, later moving to a home at 131 Browning Road.

 

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Frederick W. Grigg

Submitted by: Makaio Kelii

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Frederick W. Grigg served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1915-1916 (Mexico), 1917-1918 (France).

 

The Story of Corporal Frederick W. Grigg

CORPORAL FREDERICK W. GRIGG, was born in Pennsylvania on May 17, 1897 to William Erie and Mary Butler Grigg. They had moved to 46 West Chestnut Avenue in Merchantville NJ by the summer of 1910. After moving to New Jersey, the Griggs were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Merchantville.

After joining the United States Army at the age of 16 in 1915. He first saw service with Battery B, 1st New Jersey Field Artillery, on the border during the armed intervention with Mexico in 1916. When the battery returned to Camden he was mustered out of service. He was working in Trenton when America entered the Great War and enlisted in the Second New Jersey National Guard and was first placed on guard duty in the state. Later he was sent to Camp McClellan, Anniston, Alabama, and sailed for France in June 1918. when sent overseas, Corporal Grigg was a member of Company E, 113th Infantry Regiment.

Corporal Frederick Grigg was killed in the Argonne Forest and Meuse drive in October, 1918. He was struck in the stomach by a fragment of shrapnel. He was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.

In the years following World War I, veterans in the town of Merchantville organized an American Legion Post, which is named after Corporal Grigg and is still active today.

 

John Robert Montgomery

Submitted by: Thomas A. Bowman, Jr.

John Robert MontgomeryJohn Robert Montgomery served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known August 6, 1914 - July 16, 1919.

 

John Robert Montgomery was born August 14, 1894 at Tayloria, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the US Army at Fort Logan, Colorado on August 6, 1914. He was promoted to Corporal. He served in the regular army from October 1, 1914 to January 15, 1918.

Corporal Montgomery was stationed at Fort MacArthur, California from February 1, 1918 to August 5, 1918. He sailed from the US to France on October 7, 1918 until January 12, 1919.

Corporal Montgomery served as a 1st Class Gunner in a Mine Company in the US Coastal Artillery Corps. He was honorably discharged June 4, 1920 at Governors Island, New York.

Read more: John Robert Montgomery

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