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STORIES OF THE FALLEN

The Following is Dedicated to the Fallen, the Brave Men and Women of Our Nation's Polish American Community, who Laid Down Their Lives on the Field of Battle and Service Related Death During the Great War.

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Stories of the Fallen - Lt. LUCJAN CHWALKOWSKI       Volunteer from America to General Haller's Polish Army in France

THE DEATH OF A POLISH AMERICAN HERO   Chwalkowski 01Lt. Lucjan Chalkowski, in this portrait, is seen wearing a bonnet de police (side cap) rather than the more traditional four cornered rogatywka. The bonnet was favored at the front because it could be worn under the helmet for additional padding. The cap eagle is non-regulation.                  

Story by Jan Lorys, Polish Roman Catholic Union of America 

 

PATROL!   Perhaps the most disliked military operation.   A small unit, working far away from its lines and support. At the same time its mission is most vital – to discover the intent of the enemy, his security, check out the terrain for an advance, capture a prisoner.   

During the night of July 9 and 10t, 1918, a small patrol is surprised approaching the German trenches. Its leader is wounded and the next day, 2nd Lieutenant Łucjan Chwałkowski dies.  His last words were to have been “To dla Polski”. (This is for Poland).  How did the young immigrant to America find himself in “no man’s land” near Reims, France?

Łucjan Chwałkowski, was born on December 6, 1892, in Praszka, currently in the vicinity of Opole but then in the Russian partition.   His father Tomasz, a tailor, trying to support a family of ten, left with his wife and some of their children for America.  Arriving in New York City on May 15, 1906 they lived in a tenement house.  The young Łucjan soon followed his father’s lead and worked in the clothing industry.  (On his enlistment document in October, 1917 he lists his occupation as being an assistant designer in women’s wear).  He also joins the Związek Sokołów Polskich w Ameryce, (Alliance of Polish Falcons in America), a patriotic gymnastic society.  In 1910 the male Chwałkowskis – Tomasz and his sons Wincenty and Łucjan march in a parade commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Polish and Lithuanian victory over the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald.   They probably had the sharpest uniforms in their Nest.  

Łucjan takes a more active part in the Falcons Nest No. 7.  The national organization had adopted a more militant stand becoming a para-military training group.  According to Arthur Waldo’s (another officer of the Polish Army in France) history of the Falcon movement, „Sokolstwo, Przednia Straz Narodu,” (The Falcons, Advance Guard of the Nation) in Volume IV, Chwałkowski’s first mention is as a participant of the first “war course” organized from March 25 to April 8, 1913 for the four Falcon councils in the Mid-Atlantic States of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The course was organized for the senior leadership to instruct their subordinates in the councils and nests.  The subjects taught included: "military techniques”, and physical training, general studies (?), first aid and field sanitation, history and social studies, theoretical military engineering: w Austrian Army officer and later a veteran of the Boer Wars, fighting against the British, so he knew from practical experience how important protection was from the quick firing guns used by both sides.  The next time Chwałkowski is mentioned in Volume IV, he has advanced to be the head of Council XII.   

In 1916 the Falcons, in anticipation of America’s entry into the war sought a sponsor for a future Polish Army to be based on the Falcon organization.  Americans, eager to fight on the side of the Allies had joined either the French Foreign Legion or the so-called „American Legion” formed as part of the Canadian Armed Forces.  A few Polish Americans had enlisted and agitated the Polish language press in America to form a “Polish-American Legion” in Canada.  While that did not happen, enough interest must have been sparked so that the Falcon President Teofil Starzyński and Canadian Chief of Staff General Sir Willoughby Gwatkins agreed to train 22 officers at the Canadian Officer Training Course (COTC) at York University (now The University of Toronto) for a future Polish Army.     

Because the United States was still neutral, all these events were conducted in secret.   The volunteers were not told until the last minute where they were going.  The Falcons issued border crossing passes to the participants.   Mail correspondence was handled by the Falcon headquarters in Pittsburgh and censored.  Opponents of the Falcons spread the rumor that the organization had “sold” the young men to the Czarist Army.  

The COTC was run by civil engineering professor and Canadian Army reservist Lt. Colonel Arthur De LePan.  Since he was running the Polish course on the same standards as the regular Canadian course, how the volunteers expressed themselves in English was very important.  Colonel LePan sent an evaluation of the 23 candidates (Andrzej Małkowski, the founder of Polish Scouting back in 1910, had joined the Canadian Army and was sent from his regiment to complete the Polish course, but not to return to the United States) to Falcon Headquarters.   Chwałkowski was evaluated highly by LePan and praised as being “sharp and keen”.  In the end 18 finished the course and were commissioned in the Canadian Army, with a proviso that their service would be delayed until the resolution of the problem of sponsorship.

The newly commissioned officers returned to the United States shortly after the US declaration of war against Imperial Germany.  They were used as instructors for the Falcons and helped run the Non-commissioned officers’ course at Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania and later in Canada. 

On June 14, 1917, French President Raymond Poincaire announced France’s willingness to form an autonomous Polish Army under French command.  A Franco-Polish mission went to the States to encourage enlistment and were surprised by the militant stance and degree of preparation of their peers.  American Polonia would not send individuals, it could send battalions.  They requested an official French Military Mission to deal with a reluctant US War Department.   

The agreement among France, Canada, the United States and the Falcon Military Commission in September of 1917 established the rules for recruiting, training, transport and payment of the volunteers for the Polish Army in France.  Lt. Chwałkowski was sent to Canada and after taking additional courses in the use of machine guns at Camp Borden, Ont. he was in the first convoy to sail to France on December 15, 1917 with some of the troops that he had trained.

1st Polish COTC ClassTHE FIRST CANADIAN OFFICER TRAINING COURSE (POLISH PROBATIONERS) Chwałkowski is on the left, first row. Andrzej Małkowski, is third row, second from right not looking at the camera.

The French wanted the Polish Army to be a well-trained force and the junior officers were additionally trained and evaluated by the French at Qiutin in Brittany.  The American volunteers were mixed in with Polish veterans from the disbanded Russian Expeditionary Corps to France, men of Polish extraction in the French Foreign Legion and Frenchmen who could trace their family roots to the soldiers fighting with Napoleon or exiles from the failed 1830-1831 Uprising against Czar Nicholas. 

The First Rifles Regiment of the Polish Army, commanded by Colonel Jasieński, a veteran of the French colonial Army and descendent of an 1830/31 Uprising participant, who barely speaks Polish.  was sent to the Champagne region near Reims and St. Hillaire to serve in the trenches with a French unit and learn the fundamentals of trench warfare, including patrolling. 

Wojciech Albrycht, also a veteran of the first COTC course, who stayed in Poland after the war, found a participant of the patrol and an eyewitness to the death of the young officer.  He wrote a long article published in the Polish Army Veteran’s magazine “Weteran” in New York in March of 1939. 

The participant and eye-witness was Franciszek Fuśniak, a sergeant armed with a light machine gun to cover the patrol if they were discovered and had to retreat.   From his narration we find that Lt. Chwałkowski volunteered to lead a patrol into “no man’s land” to capture a prisoner, a task French patrols had not accomplished during the two previous nights.  The patrol consisted of Lt. Chwałkowski as the leader, another officer Lt. Krzywkowksi –Wolinski was to be the observer, two medics, four enlisted men as escorts for any prisoners and the afore mentioned light machine gunner.  The patrol was discovered as it approached the German lines and came under machine gun fire, preplanned artillery and grenades (these left no telltale muzzle fire).  The patrol members retreated individually and Fuśniak found himself with three others in a shell hole.  The artillery fire had deafened them.  Lt. Wolinski is knocked into the shell hole and stunned temporarily.  However, he recovers and orders the four men to find the others.   Fuśniak found one man, a Pole from Holland, critically wounded and got him to the shell hole.  The men move out again and this time they are guided by a sharp cry and Fuśniak finds the young officer with his left are shorn off to below his shoulder.  Of course, the Germans are also directed to the cry and machine gun fire makes it difficult to retrieve the wounded man.  Fuśniak picks up the officer and drops into some cover every few steps, reaching his comrades who try to bandage Chwałkowski.  Eventually, they find the French medics and return to friendly lines.  Unfortunately, the position is under fire and they can’t evacuate the wounded men.  Chwałkowski continues to cry out “Where’s my hand?” until he dies in the early evening.

Other reports have him being evacuated and then dying in the field hospital, in where his last words are “This is for Poland”.  Letters of condolence were issued by the French Army and government, the Polish language press in the United States as well as the English language press.  The French honored the young volunteer by decorating him with the Chevalier’s Cross of the Legion of Honor.  The Polish government, which was established on November 11, 1918 and shortly afterwards was engaged with border disputes as well as a full-fledged war with Bolshevik Russia in 1919-1921, posthumously awarded the officer with the Virtuti Militarii 5th Class.  His grave is in France at the cemetery. 

  Chevalier lgion dhonneur 2entrance The Polish military cemetery of Aubrive the Marne Virtuti Militari 

 

 

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Stories of the Fallen 

Frank Roczkinski - Rochester, New York                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 Frank Roczkinski served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in October1918, and the service was completed November 1918.

 

Frank Roczskinski was born in New York, NY In 1893.  While a resident of Rochester, NY, he was employed at the George Wahl Farm, Albion, NY, as a farm laborer, and resided at 145 Weeger Street In Rochester.  He entered the service in Orleans County, NY, on October 21, 1918, at the age of 27 years, as a Private, being assigned to Company 11, Regiment Reserve, Camp Wheeler, Macon, GA. US Army Private Frank Roczkinski died of lobar pneumonia, November 1, 1918, at Camp Wheeler, Macon, GA, and is buried in the National Cemetery, Andersonville, GA. 

—Referenced from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, Page 345  

 

 

    Stories of the Fallen    -    Alex Tunilo 

    Rochester, New York

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 Alex Tunilo served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in April 1918. The service was completed October 1918.        

 Alex Tunilo was born in Bendry, Miraslawiec, Lithuania in 1890.  He immigrated in 1910 and was employed as a farm hand at the James Dorau Farm in Rush, NY. His next of kin was his brother “Mike” who immigrated in 1907 and was working the coal mines in Scrantom, PA. 

Alex entered the service at Rochester, NY, April 2, 1918, at the age of 27 years. As a Private, he was assigned to 11th Company, 153rd Depot Brigade; transferred to Company C, 310th Infantry, May 7, 1918; and embarked overseas, May 19, 1918. Alex engaged in action at Thiaucourt and Madounee near Champigneulle. On October 20, 1918, US Army Private Alex Tunilo was killed in action, at Bois des Loges. He is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.

 — Referenced from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, Page 416.

 

Stories of the Fallen - John Wachowicz

Rochester, New York

John Wachowicz served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in September 1917, and the service was completed January 1919.

US Army symbolJohn Wachowicz was born in Rochester, NY, July 12, 1894, and baptized in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, July 22, 1894, son of Walenty and Sophia Tomaszewska Wachowicz who emigrated from Prussian Poland in 1888. John was employed by Bohn Cabinet Co. when he entered the service at Rochester, NY, September 27, 1917, at the age of 23 years. 

As a Private, he was assigned to Battery B, 309th Field Artillery; transferred to Headquarters Company, 326th Infantry, November 9, 1918; and embarked overseas, April 29, 1918.

John died of pulmonary tuberculosis, January 22, 1919, in American Base Hospital, Number 8, at Savenay, France. He remains buried in Oisne-Aisne American Cemetery, at Fere-en-Tardenois, France.

In a letter of condolence to the parents, the Catholic Chaplain quoted Admiral Farragut's words: "He who dies in the service of his country and at peace with God has attained the highest destiny in life." And the letter concluded: "We feel that both these conditions were fulfilled in the death of your son."

—Excerpt from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, Page 430.

 

Stories of the Fallen - Wladyslaw Szablinski

Rochester, New York

Wladyslaw Szablinski served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in February 1918, and the service was completed November 1918.

Szablinski. Wladyslaw Photo copy

Wladyslaw Szablinski was born in 1891 in Wilno, Russian Poland. In 1913 he emigrated to meet his brother Charles( Cyprian) Szablinski who had been living in Norwich, CT. since 1910.  Wladyslaw was married with 2 children, employed at Yawman & Erbe, when he entered the service at Rochester, N.Y, February 25, 1918, at the age of 27 years. 

As a Private, he was assigned to 21st Company, 6th Training Battalion, 151st Depot Brigade; transferred to Company K, 307th Infantry, March 16, 1918;  embarked overseas, April 7, 1918. United States Army Private Wladyslaw  Szablinski was killed in action, November 7, 1918, in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.

—Excerpts taken from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, Page 404.

 

Stories of the Fallen - Andrew Balint

Rochester, New York

US Army symbol

 Andrew Balint served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in June 1917,  and the service was completed in October, 1917.

 Andrew Balint was born in Sanok, Podkopackie, Poland in 1894. He immmigrated in 1912; his sister Helen Balint followed in 1914. They lived at 192 1/2 Durnan Street in Rochester. He entered the service at Rochester, N. Y., on June 28, 1917, at the age of 22 1/2 years. He served in Company B, 38th Infantry; and in 1st Company, Training Battalion, 16th Infantry. He died of gunshot wounds, at Madison Barracks training camp, Syracuse, N. Y., October 13, 1917. He is buried at the Madison Barracks Post Cemetery, New York.

  

Stories of the Fallen -

Private 1st Class Alexander Gorczenski

Rochester, New York

Alexander Gorczenski served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in April 1918, and the service was completed October 1918.

Gorczenski Alexander World War I Vol 1 Service record Copy 2 1

Alexander Gorczenski was born in Slyski, Warsaw, Russian Poland in 1887.  Alex and his brother Roman immigrated in 1912.  After the war, Roman settled in Irondequoit, NY,  and raised his family. Prior to his enlistment, Alexander worked as a farm hand on the Davin Brothers Farm in Avon,NY.

He entered the service at Rochester, NY,  April 3, 1918, at the age of 30 years.  As a Private, Alexander  Gorczenski was sent to Camp Dix,  Wrightstown, N. J., and assigned to the 11th Company, 3rd Training Battalion, 153rd Depot Brigade; transferred to Company G, 309th Infantry, May 7, 1918; embarked overseas, May 20, 1918, on the transport Kiaora; arrived at Southampton, England, June 5, 1918.

He was promoted to Private 1st Class and engaged in action at St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Died, October 20, 1918, from wounds received in action at Bois des Loges, north of St. Juvin, France. Buried in Argonne Cemetery, Number 1232, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse, Grave 140, Section 86, Plot 3.

Colonel Thomas H. Remington, formerly Commanding Officer of Company G, 309th Infantry, wrote:  "Gorczenski was a first-class soldier in every respect, and was one of the most faithful and courageous men in his company”

Excerpts from World War Service Record of Rochester and and Monroe County New York, Volume I, Those who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, pages 166-167, 499.

  

Stories of the Fallen - Private 1st Class Frank Levandowski

Rochester, New York 

Frank Levandowski served in World War I in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in September 1917.  The service was completed October 1918.

Levandowski Frank pic copy

Frank Lewandowski was born in Rochester, NY, in 1894. He was the son of Franciszek and Mary Kowalska Lewandowski, immigrants from Brudnia, Kujawski-Pomorskie, Prussian Poland in 1889. “Franciscus” Frank was baptized in St. Stanislaus Church on October 10, 1894. Prior to the war, Frank worked as a farmhand for James M. Melvin in Liverpool, NY.  Frank entered the service at Rochester, NY,  September 27, 1917, at the age of 23 years, as a Private in the US Army. 

Transcription of his handwriting from his Draft Registration resulted in a spelling  change to "Levandowski" which carried through on all his military records.  He was assigned to Battery B, 309th Field Artillery; transferred to Company D, 326th Infantry, November 9, 1917. He embarked overseas, April 29, 1918, and on October 18, 2018, Pvt. First Class Frank Levandowski was killed in action at the age of 24. Frank was survived by his parents, two brothers and seven sisters, in Rochester NY, and was buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.

 

Stories of the Fallen - Adam Gachinsky

Rochester, New York
US Army symbol

 

Adam Gachinsky served in World War 1 with the United States Army.  The enlistment was in April 1918, and the service was completed January 1919.

 

Adam Gachinsky was born in Turja, Russia in 1888. Before the war he was a resident of Rochester, N.Y. and was employed by the American Woodworking Machinery Company. 

Adam entered the service at Rochester, N. Y., April 4, 1918, at the age of 30 years. 

Adam served as a Private, and was assigned to 12th Company, 3rd Training Battalion, 153rd Depot Brigade; transferred to Company K, 310th Infantry on May 8, 1918; and then to Headquarters Company, 310th Infantry, June 18, 1918. 

Adam embarked overseas on May 20, 1918. Engaged in action at Thiaucourt and in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, where Adam was Wounded-In-Action. Adam subsequently died in an Army Hospital in France of bronchial pneumonia on January 1, 1919. 

Adam is buried in the St. Michael American Cemetery at Thiaucourt, France. 

Adam was 30 years old.

—Excerpt from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, page 155.

  

Stories of the Fallen - Louis A. Maeske

Rochester, New York

Maeske Louis World War I Vol 1 Service record jpgArmy Private Louis A. MaeskeLouis A. Maeske  served in World War 1 in the United States Army.  The enlistment was in September 1917, and the service was completed October 1918.

 

Louis A. Maeske was born in Rochester, N. Y., July 19, 1889, son of Louis and Evelyn Maeski. His parents emigrated from Wollin, Prussian Poland in 1887. Louis attended Public School Number  26. Before the war he was employed by the Rochester Carting Company.

Louis entered the service at Rochester, on September 27, 1917, at the age of 27 years. As a Private, Louis was assigned to Company B, 303rd Military Police; transferred to Company B, 311th Infantry, 78th Division. He was trained at Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N.J.

Pvt. Maeske embarked overseas, May 26, 1918.

He arrived at Brest, France on June 4, 1918. Engaged in action in the St. Mihiel Sector and Meuse- Argonne. He was wounded slightly September 26,1918.

US Army Private Louis A. Maeske was killed in action on October 5, 1918, at St. Mihiel.

He was first buried at St. Mihiel; later his body was brought back to America on the USS Cambria, June 9, 1921, and reburied in Mt. Hope Cemetery,  Rochester, NY.

—Excerpt from World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York, Volume 1, Those Who Died for Us, Published by the City of Rochester, 1924, Pages 261-262.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Stories of the Fallen - WALTER RATINSKI

Marine logo

Ratinski Article

First Marine and                      First Polish American from Rochester NY Killed in Great War

93 Jackson Street, Rochester, N. Y. Walter William Ratinski was born in Rochester, N. Y., June 7, 1888, son of Anthony and Josephine Ratinski. Before the World War he was employed by Joy, Clark and Nier.

Entered the service at Rochester, N. Y., December 15, 1917, at the age of 29 years, as a Private, in the United States Marine Corps. He was trained at Parris Island, S. C, and Quantico, Va.

Embarked overseas, March 13, 1918. Assigned to 45th Company, 5th Regiment, March 23, 1918. Engaged in action at Toulon Sector; Aisne Defensive; ChateauThierry Sector. Killed in action at Chateau-Thierry, June 6, 1918. First buried in France;

later his body was brought back to America on the U.S.S. Cantigny, February 16, 1922, and reburied in Holy Sepulchre Ceme tery, Rochester, N. Y., February 27, 1922, Soldiers and Sailors Plot, Grave 12. p360 Monroe County Service Record.

 

Memorial Service at Gravesite of WWl Fallen Soldier Walter W. Ratinski

Date: June 7, 2018 Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Rochester, NY

Video description posts here

 

 STORIES OF THE FALLEN - THE TALASKA BROTHERS 

JOHN TALASKA - USMC - Rochester NY  Marine logo

John J Talaska.jpegJohn Talaska served in the U.S Marine Corps from April 18, 1917, until his death on June 24, 1918, from wounds received in action. He received the “Character Excellent” Commendation from the USMC.

John Talaska was born on July 2, 1895, in Morris Run, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Carl and Theophila Talaska. It is likely that Carl and Theophila, with three of their young children, immigrated to the United States from Osnowo, a village in the Prussian town of Kulm (Chelmno). Chelmno was given back to Poland in 1920 following World War I.

We meet the family in Rochester for the first time in the 1905 US Census. Seven of their 10 children were living with their parents at 63 Weddel Way (later renamed Roycroft Drive). In the 1905 Rochester City Directory, Carl Talaska is listed as a laborer; Joseph Talaska (b 1884) as a gardener, and Max Talaska (b1886) as a baggage man for NYC station.

John Talaska was a member of St. Stanislaus Church and he was employed by the Sibley, Lindsay, & Curr Company.

Immediately upon enlisting in April, 1917 he was assigned to Company G Marine Barracks at Port Royal, South Carolina.*

John Talaska embarked overseas August 22, 1917 to join up with the “Fighting Fifth”, the first contingent of Marines to engage in action in the Toulon Sector, Aisne Defensive, Chateau -Thierry. On June 7, 1918, he was wounded at the Battle of Belleau Wood, a fierce battle that earned the regiment another nickname, “Devil Dog”.**

Battle of Belleau Wood

 

Pvt. John Talaska died on June 24, 1918 of wounds received in the Battle of Belleau Wood. He was 23 years old. He had spent the last 10 months and 2 days of his life overseas in the service of his country.

Pvt. Talaska was initially laid to rest in France. On July 2, the transport “Wheaton” brought his remains back to America. On July 26, 1921, Pvt. John Talaska was buried, with military honors, in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester, New York, Lot 34, Section South 6.

Members of William H. Cooper (Marine) Post, Number 603, American Legion, acted as bearers and firing squad. Members of the Pulaski Post Number 783, American Legion, attended in a body and acted as escort.

*From the USMC History Chronology Website: June 1, 1911 - A recruit depot began operation at Port Royal on a three-company basis as a secondary function of the Marine Officers’ School, after it had been postponed from its original startupdate of November 1910. 

April 6, 1917 - Nov. 11, 1918 - The recruit depot underwent a massive expansion of installations, number of Marines trained and the type of instruction recruits received in order to meet the demands of the ongoing World War I. It was also during this time that Marine Barracks, Port Royal, was redesignated as Marine Barracks, Paris Island, and the government took possession of the remaining private land on Parris Island. Marine Corps Order No. 32 officially changed the name "Paris" to "Parris" on May 3, 1919.
**World War I (Wikipedia) The unit was activated on June 8, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the 5th Regiment of Marines. They immediately deployed to France

5th Marine Regiment Logo

, arriving on June 26, and were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. Later that year, in October, they were reassigned to 4th Brigade of Marines under the 2nd Infantry Division. In spring 1918, the regiment was involved in the fierce battle of Belleau Wood and was given the nickname Devil Dog.
The Fifth subsequently participated in the offensive campaigns at Aisne, Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. They also participated in the defensive campaigns at Toulon-Troyon, Château-Thierry, Marbache and Limey. From 1918 until 1919 the regiment participated in the occupation of the German Rhineland. In August 1919 it relocated back to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. It was inactivated on August 13, 1919. The regiment's actions in France earned them the right to wear 

the Fourragère (seen in the outline of the unit's logo), one of only two in the Marine Corps (the other being the 6th Marine Regiment). The award was a result of 

being the only regiments in the American Expeditionary Force to receive three Croix de guerre citations: two in the order of the army and one in the order of the corps— Fourragère and Croix de guerre with two Palms and Gilt Star. The Fourragère became part of the uniform of the unit, and all members of the organization are authorized to wear the decoration on the left shoulder of the uniform while members of the organization.  

 

WALTER TALASKA - USN - Rochester NY  naval aviation logo blue

Walter Talaska Photo

Walter Paul Talaska served in the US Naval Reserve Force from October 22, 1917 until September 2, 1918.

Walter Paul Taska was born on March 2, 1893, in Morris Run, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Carl and Theophila Talaska. It is likely that Carl and Theophila, with three of their young children immigrated to the United States in 1887, from Osnowo, a village in the Prussian town of Kulm (Chelmno). Chelmno was restored as a part of Poland following the Armistice of World War I.pc10953

We first meet the family in the Rochester area in the 1905 US Census. Seven of their 10 Children were living with their parents at 63 Weddel Way (later renamed Roycroft Drive). From the age of 15, until he left for Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, Walter worked as a shoemaker. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1917.

After graduating from Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA, on June 20, 1917, Walter enlisted at Quantum, MA as a first-class yeoman in the US Naval Reserve on October 22, 1917. After his honorable discharge, he enlisted in the Naval Aviation Service. His preliminary training was received as a Cadet

Bay Shore Sea Plane 4C08DF 1at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambidge, MA.

Walter transferred to the training school at Bay Shore, Long Island, NY where he served as Chief Quartermaster.

He had been flying for two months at the training school and was fatally injured as the result of an accident with his seaplane. 

His seaplane fell 300 feet and crashed into seven feet of water in the Great South Bay, Long Island, NY. It was some time before the flier could be extricated from the wreckage.

He was later pronounced dead at the US Naval Air Station Hospital, Babylon, New York, of a skull fracture and other sustained injuries on September 3, 2018. Walter Paul Talaska was 25 years old. 

 He was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester, NY, on September 6,1918. Soldiers from the United States Army School of Aerial Photography and from the Polish Army Stations in Rochester and Buffalo acted as escort.

Bay Shore Sea Plane 4C08DF 1

 

Walter's military funeral was in 1918. He was joined by his brother John’s in 1921.

Both are laid to rest in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester, New York. 

 

 

Stories of the Fallen - LOUIS KOSCIELNY - Rochester NY

Louis Koscielny

777 Avenue D, Rochester, N. Y. Louis Koscielny was born in Poland, son of Joseph and Anna Koscielny. He was a resident of Rochester, N. Y., for sixteen years prior to the war. He attended St. Stanislaus School, and was employed by Henry Likly & Company. Defective eyesight prevented him from entering the United States Army.

He was a member of the Polish Falcons in America. He had received first American Naturalization papers, but was still a Polish subject. He entered the service in the Polish Army on October 20, 1917 at the age of 28 years.

He was trained at Kosciusko Camp, Niagara-on-the-Lake, being assigned to the 5th Machine Gun Company, 1st Regiment, Polish Legion. Embarked overseas early in 1918. Killed in action, July 14, 1918. Buried in France. When his comrades picked him up they found over his heart, stained with his blood, a tiny American flag given to him by his sisters on his enlistment. P253 Monroe County Service Record

 

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