Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
[Home] [Previous Soldier] [Next Soldier]


Pvt. Clyde Samuel Collins
Co. C, 6th Field Battalion, Signal Corps.
November 16, 1896 - April 11, 1918

     That ambition for military activity is a trait of character
in the family of Clyde Samuel Collins, may be gleaned from the
fact that his brother, John Pirtle Collins, enlisted in the navy
when he was a lad of seventeen, and on board the U.S.S. Arkansas
made several trips to Cuba, two trips to Panama and a voyage to
Italy, where he visited Naples and Rome. John's death in 1916,
caused by an accident after he was honorably discharged from the
navy, prevented his active participation in the war with Germany.
Clyde heard his brother predict that the sinking of the Lusitania
would result in our entrance in the war. He, too, wanted to
experience military life. Especially did he want to serve across
the sea. His enthusiasm for the service and his eagerness to rejoin
the fighting ranks when he was weak from illness, proved fatal for
Clyde Samuel Collins. He was born November 16, 1896, in Folsomville,
Ind., Warrick County. He attended the Baker, Chestnut and Harlan
Avenue schools. He did not enjoy the advantages of a higher education,
but he was a voracious reader and he possessed a store of information
far beyond the attainment of an elementary education. When his school
days were over he worked in a store, Hercules Buggy Works and at a
veneer factory. When he entered the service he worked at Philadelphia
as air inspector on Pullman coaches of the Philadelphia and Rending
Railway.

     On February 22, 1918, he entered the service. His mother said,
"I will always remember this day, Washington's Birthday, as the day
my youngest son went forth to serve his country."  He served in
Co. C, Sixth Field Battalion, Signal Corps, at Ft. Leavenworth,
Kans. His military career, however, was terminated by a fatal malady,
the Spanish Influenza.  Fearing that his battalion which  was preparing
to go to France, would leave without him, he left the hospital before
he completely regained his strength and consequently suffered a relapse.
Pneumonia developed, and about noon of April 11, 1918, he died at the
post hospital. He was given a military funeral at Leavenworth before
his body was brought to Evansville two days later. He was buried in
Oak Hill Cemetery.

     A letter from his captain, F. 0. Ludlow, speaks of his brave fight
with the disease which finally overpowered him:
     "Private Collins was an excellent soldier who was universally
liked by his officers and fellow soldiers, and his death is a genuine
sorrow to us all. During his illness at the post hospital the surgeons
and his nurses reported that he was making a gallant fight for his
life against the disease. We feel that his memory is to be honored
just as truly as will be those who die fighting in the trenches in
France in the service of their Country."
        (Signed) Captain F. 0. LUDLOW.

     He was in the army but a short time, but there is another
testimonial of his worth. A letter from Major Donald B. Sanger to his
mother characterized his service and the keen loss his organization
felt when he died. The letter said:
     "I realize that words are futile; yet I want you to know of the
high standing your boy, Clyde Collins, held among his fellows in the
battalion. Although he was with us but a short time; yet, even short
as it was, it was sufficient for us to know his worth, and that but for
the call of a Higher Duty he would have been one of our best men.

     "In his passing, my dear Mrs. Collins, I want you to know that
his service to his country and to the great cause for which we are
fighting was just as glorious, just as big a thing as if he had died on
the field of battle in France. His work will go on and his death is to
us an inspiration. May God comfort you in your loss and ease your
sorrow with the knowledge that your son comes to Him with clean
hands, a worthy soldier."
 _____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp43-44.

cdmyers@wowway.com
April 15, 1998