Henry Winter Davis
Submitted by: Benjamin Woodard
Henry Winter Davis served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known 12 May 1918-14 Oct 1918.
Born 2 Sep 1887 at Huntington, WV, to John and Mary Davis. Served in the WV National Guard before receiving a commission. Volunteered for immediate overseas service and sailed on MONGOLIA 11 Sep 1918.
Upon arrival attended American officers’ school at La Vanbonne, France; upon completion assigned to 165th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Division as a 2nd Lieutenant (Nov 1917). Assumed duties with headquarters company until Feb 1918 when transferred to Machine Gun Company. Served with this company in the Baccarat sector, Chasseurs, Champagne, Villers-sur-Fere, Murcey Farm, River Orcq, St. Mihiel sector and at Landres St. George.
Recommended for promotion shortly after regiment came out of Chateau Thierry sector. After service at Chalons-sur-Marne, awarded Silver Star. The citation reads as follows:
“By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Henry W. Davis, United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. Second Lieutenant Davis distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with Machine Gun Company, 165th Infantry Regiment, 42d Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in action near Chalons-sur-Marne, France, 15 July 1918, and by his brilliant leadership.
General Orders: GHQ, American Expeditionary Forces, Citation Orders No. 1 (June 3, 1919)
Action Date: July 15, 1918".
He was wounded and died in France, and the story follows:
At Landres St. George, about dusk on 12 Oct took his platoon to the front line. After his men were dug in and the relief established there, he lay down in his foxhole and while there an enemy high explosive shell struck the edge of the hole, a fragment striking him on the left forearm and another penetrating his thigh, creating a “gaping wound”. This shell proved to be poisonous. Occurred about 2 in the morning and he was immediately removed to first aid station where wounds were dressed (his orderly dressed his arm and later said that it was in a very bad condition; this was within ten minutes). He was suffering considerably from wounds and shock.
From first aid station, he was removed on a stretcher carried by his orderly and 4 others to an ambulance in the rear where his wounds were given attention. One of the stretcher bearers later told the commanding officer that no one thought his wounds would prove fatal as he was conscious until he was out of sight in the ambulance. Twenty minutes after he was wounded he was on an operating table in a field hospital six miles behind the line.
He stayed conscious until the end except being as completely as possible under the influence of opiates. On the first day in the hospital his wounds weren’t considered serious but on the 13th alarming symptoms developed. Capt. Capps talked with him on the night of the 13th and gathered from his conversation that he realized the gravity of his condition.
He died on the 14th and was buried near Iroidas, France.
His body was shipped home 19 Jun 1921 on USAT WHEATON and was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington, WV.