Category Archives: WW1 Deaths

Cpl. Maurice Masterson, 1895-1918

mauricemasterson
During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Corporal Maurice Masterson, the son of Edward J. Masterson and Florence Dalton, was killed in action on this day 98 years ago.  He was born on August 8, 1895, in Pomeroy, Iowa. The family moved to Barnesville, Minnesota, in 1905, where he and his brothers excelled in school. In 1917, the three brothers dropped out of college to join the Army. Maurice served in the 151st Field Artillery, Rainbow Division.

On September 18, 1918, Cpl. Masterson was severely wounded or gassed.  He was killed in an artillery barrage in France on November 1, 1918.  He is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Barnesville, Minnesota.  American Legion Post 153, Barnesville, Minnesota, is named in his memory.

The photo here is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, Page 114.

References



Execution of Capt. Charles Fryatt, 1916

Charles Fryatt IWM Q 066269.jpg

Capt. Fryatt. Wikipedia photo.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the execution of Captain Charles Fryatt, a British mariner. He was executed by the Germans for attempting to ram a U-boat which was attacking his ship, the SS Brussels, in 1915.

Fryatt’s first encounter with a U-boat came in March 1915 when his command, the SS Wrexham, was under attack. Even though the ship’s normal top speed was 14 knots, with deckhands assisting the stokers, he managed to make 16 knots and arrive safely at port.

On March 28, he was in command of the Brussels, and was ordered to stop by U-boat U-33. When the U-boat surfaced to torpedo the ship, he ordered full steam ahead in an attempt to ram the U-boat. The incident received some notariety in England, and Fryatt was awarded a gold watch by the admiralty.

On June 25, 1916, the Brussels left Holland for England. A passenger on deck reportedly signaled to shore, and the ship was soon surrounded by five German destroyers. The ship was seized, its radio destroyed, and the crew was arrested.

Fryatt was tried by a German court martial on charges of sinking a submarine as a non-combatant (even though the submarine had not really been sunk). He was tried on July 27, 1916, the inscription on the watch serving as evidence of the charges. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad that same evening at Bruges, Belgium.

Whatever warning the execution might have given mariners was overshadowed by the reaction in neutral America. The New York Times called the execution “a deliberate murder,” and the New York Herald called it “the crowning German atrocity.”

The Swiss Journal de Genève opined, “it is monstrous to maintain that armed forces have a right to murder civilians but that civilians are guilty of a crime in defending themselves”.

The November, 1916, issue of Wireless World carried the following note which underscores Capt. Fryatt’s bravery:

A very touching little posthumous incident connected with Captain Fryatt, the gallant Commander of the Brussels, so infamously done to death by the Germans, was recently chronicled by the daily Press. The English stewardesses who, after a great deal of diplomatic pourparlers, were at length released in the beginning of October, narrated that Captain Fryatt was warned by the Germans that if he employed his wireless equipment his vessel and all on board would be sent to the bottom.

Therefore when the wireless operator asked, as the Germans clambered on board, whether be should summon aid the chivalrous seaman answered,” No, I don’t care “what they do with me, but I must think of the lives of the women I carry.” In view of the recent haul of German and Dutch spies made by the Netherlands Government, the further statement of the stewardesses that movements of the Brussels were signalled by flashlight to a German submarine lurking in Dutch waters, and retransmitted by wireless to the German torpedo boat, assumes an air of verisimilitude.

Mount Fryatt, Alberta. By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Fryatt, Alberta. By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL  or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The 11,027 foot Mount Fryatt, in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, was named in honor of Captain Fryatt in 1922. The nearby Brussels Peak is named in honor of his ship.

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Private Anthony J. Theobald, 1894-1919

 

AnthonyTheobaldDuring the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Anthony J. Theobald was born  on January 17, 1894, in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.  He was the son of Mathias J. and Maria (nee Stiff) Theobald.   He served as a Private in the U.S. Army during World War I and survived until after Armistice Day.  However, he died of disease in Germany on March 4, 1919.

According to Martin County in the World War, he was a resident of Jay Township, Martin County, at the time of his induction into the Army as an infantry private at Fairmont, Minnesota, on July 26, 1918. He was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 54th Pioneer Infantry, at Camp Wadsworth, S.C. On August 29, 1918, his unit embarked from Newport News, Virginia, aboard one of the transports Duca d’Aosta or Caserta and arrived at Brest, France, on September 12, 1918, where he was engaged in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from September 27 until the Armistice on November 11.

Thereafter, his unit was garrisoned in German towns in the vicinity of Wittlich and later Coblenz, and he continued service with the Army of Occupation in Germany, where he contracted pneumonia.

The unit’s history is available online.

Private Theobald died on March 4, 1919, at Neuendorf, Germany.  His death was announced in the War Department’s casualty list of March 21, 1919.  His body was returned to the United States and he was buried in St. Luke’s cemetery, Sherburn, Minnesota, in July 1920.

The photo here is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, Page 111.



Pvt. Steffen Thune, 1888-1918

Thune

During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Steffen Thune of Zumbrota, Minnesota, was born on February 21, 1888, the son of Syver and Sissel Thune (Tune) and had seven brothers and sisters.

He served in the United States Army as a private in the 343rd Infantry, 86th Division. The unit was activated in 1917 in Illinois, and went overseas in August 1918.  It never saw combat, and returned to the United States in November of that year.  Private Thune died of disease on October 4, 1918, as listed in the Official U.S. Bulletin of December 6, 1918. His next of kin is listed there as his father Syver, with an address of R.F.D. 4, Box 14, Zumbrota, Minnesota.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery where his headstone incorrect gives his last name as “Thumb.”  After nearly a century, the error has never been corrected.  (This Washington Post article discusses the prevalence of similar errors at Arlington National Cemetery.)

The photo here is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, Page 111.



Loss of the Submarine USS F-4, 1915.

The first submarine deaths of the U.S. Navy predated U.S. involvement in the First World War by about two years. The USS F-4, originally named the Skate, was lost in the waters off Honolulu 100 years ago today, March 25, 1915, with the loss of all 21 men aboard.

An investigating board concluded that corrosion of the lead battery tank had allowed sea water to seep into the battery compartment. Other theories involved a faulty valve or problems with air lines supplying the ballast tank. Whatever the cause, the sub was lost on a routine training mission a hundred years ago today.

The ship was recovered a few months later. Only four of the dead could be identified. The other 17 were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The following men gave their lives in the service of their country a hundred years ago today.  Links go to an individual memorial page at OnEternalPatrol.com.

George Thomas Ashcroft
Clark George Buck
Earnest Clement Cauvin
Harley Colwell
Walter Frank Covington
George Luther Deeth
Alfred Louis Ede
Frederick Gillman
Aliston Hills Grindle
Frank Nephi Herzog
Edwin Sylvester Hill
Francis Marion Hughson
Albert Florian Jenni
Archie Hovis Lunger
Ivan Lenore Mahan
Horace Linken Moore
William Severin Nelson
Timothy Albert Parker
Frank Charles Pierard
Charles Harris Wells
Henry A. Withers

References

 

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Carl Alfred Oefstedahl, 1893-1918.

Oefstedahl

During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Private Carl Alfred Oefstedahl of Spring Grove, Minnesota, was born in 1893. He appears to have been born in North Dakota, the son of Peter and Inger Oefstedahl, and is recorded as being a resident of North Dakota in the 1900 Census.  He served in Company L, 138th Infantry.

In the casualty list of July 23, 1918, he was reported as being killed in action, one of 24 men so listed that day.  He is buried at Spring Grove Lutheran Old Cemetery, Spring Grove, Minnesota.

The photo here is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, Page 114.



Private Luther Irl Snapp, 1892-1918

LutherSnapp

During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Private Luther Irl Snapp was born on September 15, 1892, near Marshall Minnesota. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Snapp. He graduated from the Marshall public schools and worked as a carpenter until 1915, when he moved to Baker, Montana. He enlisted in the Montana National Guard Infantry and served on the Mexican border. He was mustered into service in April 1917 and served with the 41st (Sunset) Division, 163rd Infantry, and sailed to France in the fall of 1917.

He was transferred to Company H of the 167th (Alabama) Infantry, 42nd (Rainbow) Division.  He was killed in action in  Chateau-Thierry on July 28, 1918, during the capture of the village of Sergy in the Second Battle of the Marne.

He was buried in the American cemetery near Sergy. His body was later disinterred and returned to the United States. He was buried at Marshall, Minnesota.

An American Legion Post in Marshall was named after Private Snapp in 1919. That Post does not appear to be in existence today.

The photo above is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, page 104.

References

Fallon County Times, October 24, 1918 and October 1921.

White Earth (Minn.) Tomahawk, Sept. 4, 1919.


Private Lauren Gilbert “Duby” Reid, 1896-1918.

LaurenReid

During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Private Lauren Gilbert “Duby” Reid of Virginia City, Nevada, died on this day in 1918. He was born in Storey County, Nevada, on March 28, 1896, one of three children and the only son of William Garrence and Ellen Reid. He was wounded by shrapnel in the Bois d’Apremont, northeast of Binarville, Argonne Forest, France, and died of his wounds the next day, October 8, 1918, just over a month before the Armistice. He was one of the Lost Battalion of about 554 men cut off and completely surrounded by German forces during the  Meuse-Argonne Offensive, in which over 26,000 other American soldiers also lost their lives. The battle was the largest in U.S. history, and involved 1.2 million American soldiers. Some 70,000 French soldiers were also killed, as were between 90,000 and 120,000 Germans.

Private Reid served in the U.S. Army, 308th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, Company G. His grave is at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France. His record can be viewed at the website of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

American Legion Duby Reid Post 30, Sparks Nevada, is named in his memory and continues to honor him.

The photo above is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, page 219.

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Chester A. Tongen

ChesterTongen

During the centennial of World War 1, this page periodically remembers American servicemen who gave their lives in that war.

Chester A. “Chesty” Tongen of Zumbrota, Minnesota, was a 1916 graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in pharmacy.  At the University, he was a member of the Scandinavian Literary Society and the Hope Lutheran Society.

He started at the University’s College of Pharmacy in 1912, and his campus address that year is listed in a University Directory as 1609 SE 4th Street, Minneapolis, which currently houses a University parking ramp. He was the son of Andrew H. and Anna M. Tongen and had previously studied at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  He was a member of Holden Lutheran Church of Kenyon, Minnesota.

Despite his education, the Great War saw him as a Private. He is listed as having died of disease. I was unable to find any grave for Private Tongen at any of the American cemeteries in Europe, which I suspect means that he died of disease after induction but while still stateside.

His college yearbook bears the quote, “I shall soon have a Norske Apotek all my own.” It was not to be.

The photo here is from Soldiers of the Great War, Volume 2, Page 113.


Brothers Melvin and Peter Myhre, Casualties of WW1

Melvin and Peter Myhre

Melvin and Peter Myhre

Periodically, I use this page to remember some of the forgotten young American men who gave their lives in the First World War.  Private Melvin Myhre of Fosston, Minnesota, was killed in action on October 10, 1918, about a month before the armistice. He is buried in France with over 14,000 of his comarades at the at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.  He served in the U.S. Army, 327th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Division.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, in which Private Myhre gave his life, was the largest battle in U.S. history, and involved 1.2 million American soldiers. Over 26,000, including Private Myhre, were killed. In addition, some 70,000 French soldiers were killed, as were between 90,000 and 120,000 Germans.

His brother, Private Peter Myhre, also died in France on November 1, 1918, only ten days before the Armistice. He is buried at the St. Mihiel American Cemetery, along with over 4000 American soldiers.

According to Polk County Minnesota in the World War, Melvin and Peter were sons of Mr. and Mrs. Mikkel Myhre.  Melvin entered service on March 2, 1918. Peter entered the service on July 26 and was taken sick about October 15 behind the front near Clermont Woods. He died at the Mesves hospital.

Their pictures shown here, are from the three-volume Soldiers of the Great War (Vol. 2, p. 99).

Nurses at U.S. Army Hospital, Mesves, France. (Nat'l Institutes of Health photo).

Nurses at U.S. Army Hospital, Mesves, France. (Nat’l Institutes of Health photo).