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Hugh Barr

Submitted by: Eimar Barr {grandnephew}

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Hugh Barr served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 11th July 1917 to 8th June 1918.

 

Hugh Barr, my granduncle, emigrated from Moville, County Donegal, Ireland to New York. He arrived at Ellis Island on the 13th October 1914. He worked and lived in Brooklyn, New York.

On the 5th June 1917 he, along with millions of young men, registered for the draft. However, he decided to enlist in the regular army and on the 11th July 1917 he enlisted at Fort Slocum, New York.

Hugh served with Company G, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division U.S. Army and was shipped to France in December 1917.

For three months he was stationed in the quiet sector at Ansauville. In early April 1918, Hugh, along with the other soldiers of the 1st Division boarded trains at Maron. The soldiers detrained at Meru in Picardy and marched to the town of Chaumont-en-Vexin where they were billeted. The 1st Division was preparing for the first battle by the American Expeditionary Forces in the First World War.

 In early May 1918, the 1st Division marched towards the town of Cantigny where on the 28th May 1918, led by the 18th Infantry Regiment, they captured Cantigny from the Germans.

On the 2nd June 1918, Private Hugh Barr, Company G of the 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment went into the line at Cantigny. While in the line he was wounded by a high explosive shell on the 7th June. Hugh was

transported from the battlefield in Cantigny to Field Hospital No. 13 in the nearby village of Vendeuil-Carly. Field Hospital No. 13 was a triage hospital set up in tents in the outskirts of the town. The soldiers' wounds were assessed here and depending on their severity the soldiers were transferred to different hospitals.

Hugh's wounds were determined to be very serious and he was sent to Field Hospital No. 12 in the village of Bonvillers, about 4 miles from Vendeuil-Carly. Field Hospital No. 12 had opened on the 22nd April 1918 in a large chateau in Bonvillers and it treated the most severe and non-transportable wounded, of whom it admitted 1,220 between April and July 1918. Mortality among the patients averaged about 25%, though this varied considerably from time to time.

On the 8th June 1918 Hugh Barr died from his wounds in Field Hospital No. 12. He was dressed in his military uniform with an identification tag pinned to his tunic and was placed in a pine coffin along with a glass bottle containing a paper stating "53875 Hugh L. Barr, Pvt., Co. G, 26th Inf., June 8th 1918, Chaplain Dickson in charge".
The coffin was transported to the nearby church in Bonvillers and he was buried with military honors in grave no. 201, plot C, American Cemetery 170 next to the church.
After the war, his mother back in Ireland requested that his body be returned for burial in Moville.

On the 7th January 1921 Hugh Barr's remains were disinterred, placed in a casket, number 14444, and transported to the port city of Antwerp.

On the 4th November 1921, the local newspaper, The Derry Journal, reported that the ship, 'Orlock Head', arrived yesterday from Antwerp at Dublin, flying her flag at half-mast. She carried 23 caskets containing the remains of Irish-American soldiers who fell in the Great War. Amongt these were Hugh Barr, consigned to Mrs. Catherine Barr.

On the 9th November 1921, Hugh Barr's brother Harry (my grandfather) signed for the remains.

Hugh Barr was laid to rest in Ballybrack cemetery on the 11th November 1921.

I am retired in New York. The American flag that draped Hugh Barr's coffin is now framed and on the wall in my basement.

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