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Ramchandra Dhondurao (R.D.) Shelke

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Ramchandra Dhondurao (R.D.) Shelke served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known December 1917 to August 25, 1919.


Ramchandra Dhondurao (R. D.) Shelke was born on April 15, 1891 in Kolhapur, British India. He arrived in New York on July 31, 1914 aboard Hamburg from Naples, to pursue an education. Later in life he would obtain a bachelors in chemical engineering.

After arriving in New York City R.D. Shelke made his way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On December 15, 1914, at age of 23 R. D. Shelke declared his allegiance to the United States at the U.S District Court of Western District of Pennsylvania.

On July 5, 1917 R. D. Shelke was drafted in the U.S Army. He was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia from September 23, 1917 to December 1917. The August 1918 issue of the newspaper and journal Young India featured him with other Indians serving in the U.S Armed Forces. He served in the Supply Company 30th Infantry 3rd Division from December 1917 to August 25, 1919.

 On March 4, 1918 R. D. Shelke departed with his unit from Hoboken, New Jersey, most likely to France, on board the ship 22. On August 12, 1919 R. D. Shelke and his unit departed from Brest, France on board the ship U.S.S America to the United States. He served overseas from March 4, 1918 to August 20, 1919. R. D. Shelke saw action at Champagne- Marne, Meuse- Argonne, and the U.S Army occupation of the Vesle sector of the Aisne river. R.D. Shelke was honorably discharged on demobilization on August 25, 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey with the rank of private.

After completing his service in the war, R.D. Shelke returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and remained there for the rest of his life . He petitioned for naturalization through the state of Pennsylvania on February 1, 1921. Later in 1934, he worked as an electrical engineer and married Mildred Shelke. He applied for veteran’s compensation through the state of Pennsylvania, receiving $10 a month for 20 months, in total $200. In 1942, when America was fighting in World War II, R.D. Shelke at the age of 51 was unemployed.

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