Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair
Submitted by: Cynthia B. Lake (grand-niece)
Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known Oct 24, 1916 - June 11, 1918.
My Great-Uncle Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair served in WWI, and died at the Battle of Belleau Woods in France on June 11, 1918. Kenneth, born a middle child of a large family, likely had no bright future ahead on the small, hard-scrabble family farm in Bane, Giles County, Virginia. As a young graduate of Pearisburg High School, he set off on a great adventure with the U.S. Marines when he enlisted at Port Royal, SC on October 24, 1916.
Kenneth completed basic training at Paris Island, SC with 4th Company E. He sailed from the U.S. February 21, 1917 on board the U.S.S. Maine, disembarked March 10 for temporary shore service in Cuba. He served in Cuba until May 25, 1917 on which date he sailed on board the U.S.S. St. Louis for Philadelphia. On June 14 he sailed for France on the U.S.S. Henderson, being appointed to the rank of Corporal on June 16 with the Fifty-fifth Company, Fifth Regiment, Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marines. He came ashore in France on July 3, 1917.
Kenneth’s service record states, “Occupied various trenches in the Verdun sector from March 17, 1918, having occupied the front line trenches at Camp Montgirmont from March 24th to March 28th, 1918, and the front line trenches in the vicinity of Chatillon from April 9th to April 22nd, 1918.” He was promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1918. “Occupied the front line trenches and took part in various engagements from June 3rd when the German advance on Paris was stopped until the capture of Bois de Belleau on June 11th.”
Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair died in the line of duty on June 11, 1918 having suffered a gunshot wound to his left thigh. Kenneth’s body rested at the American Section of Cimetiere de la Ferte until the summer of 1921 when his body was returned to be buried at Mt. Pleasant Church, near the family farm. Kenneth’s sacrifice was honored with plaques from the U.S. government, the French government, and was reported in national newspapers. The Virginian Leader, Pearisburg, VA said it best, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15-13 KJV.