Winchester, VA man works to reveal history of city’s WWI markers
By AMY ALONZO
WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - On Nov. 11, 1924, there was a ceremony near Handley High School commemorating nearly 50 Winchester and Frederick County soldiers who fought and died during or immediately after World War I.
Bronze markers were installed beneath about 50 red oak trees standing along what is currently Handley Boulevard, but at the time was dedicated as Memorial Avenue, according to a past article in The Winchester Star.
Just seven of the 49 bronze plaques that were mounted during the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion ceremony are still known to exist, Gene Schultz, a Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society board member, said Thursday at the organization’s office on South Pleasant Valley Road.
Schultz, who stumbled upon the story of the bronze markers by accident while researching his family’s history, is working with the city and Shenandoah University students and staff, to learn more about the plaques’ history.
“We want to research to find out who these guys were ... and are there any more of these plaques around,” he said.
World War I began in the summer of 1914 and ended Nov. 11, 1918. The U.S. did not become involved until April 1917, Schultz said, and Winchester and Frederick County troops did not deploy until June 1918.
Schultz isn’t sure how many local men went overseas to serve, but he estimates it was several hundred. There are about 1,200 names on the draft roster, he said, but not all of them were necessarily drafted. The list does not include those who enlisted.
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