Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Pvt. John Debold
Pioneer Platoon, Headquarters Company, 334th Infantry, 84th Division
December 10, 1893 - October 25, 1918

   "An excellent soldier in every respect" is the description of John
Debold by one of his officers, Lieutenant Parkhurst. John Debold
was born in this city December 10, 1893.  He attended Carpenter
School, and later worked for the Evansville Sand & Gravel Company.

   On June 25, 1918, he entered the service and was sent to Camp
Sherman, Ohio, where he was assigned to Pioneer Platoon, Headquarters
Company, 334th Infantry, 84th Division. On August 22 he went to Camp
Mills, N.Y., and on the second day of September he sailed for France.
He arrived in France September 13, 1918. On October 9 he developed a
mild case of influenza and went to the infirmary. For a time he
improved and was in best of spirits, even expecting to return to
his organization, but on October 25 he suffered a relapse and
died in Base Hospital 78, at Chateau LaRoche, Razac-sur-l'Isle,
Durdogne, France, about a mile from Ragar, the headquarters of
the 334th Infantry. He was buried five and a half miles from La Roche,
in an American cemetery No.87, grave No.528, at Perigeux.

   Chaplain W. E. McPheeters wrote the following to his mother:
   "He was a member of Headquarters Company, 334th Infantry,
my regiment, and when he became ill and was removed to the camp
hospital I visited him and talked with him. He was very ill and while
I encouraged him to make a stiff fight for life, which he did, I saw
that he appreciated the seriousness of his condition and asked him
if he had anything he wished to say. He expressed himself as ready
to die, if necessary, and that he had made his peace with his God.

   "Pneumonia had followed influenza, and it was this disease which
caused his death, October 25. He had every possible care at the
hospital, but nothing could stay the disease."

   John Debold was a first-class private.  "He was very popular
with the other men of the company; also, he was the best drilled,
best disciplined and the most intelligent soldier of the platoon.
He had been recommended for promotion," one of his "buddies" wrote.

   Lieut. J. L. Dowson wrote the following to his mother: I am in
the Red Cross work, and have to deal with cases of this sort, and I
can assure you that my experience is that in every case our workers
do their utmost to satisfy the friends of the dear boys who lay down
their lives in their country's service. In the little cemetery near
this hospital lie no less than 700 such boys, and it is heart-breaking
to think of the bereaved homes in America where loving mothers mourn
the loss of their sons. These sacrifices cannot have been in vain, and
sometime they and you bereaved mothers will receive your reward.
God reigns yet, and some day we shall understand the why and the
wherefore of these mysterious providences.  In these hospitals doctors
and nurses are indefatigable in their efforts to save the boys, and
their kindness and sympathy are all that could be desired. There is
no doubt therefore that your boy had the very best care, and you
must not fret about that part of it.

  "Be patient and hopeful in the meantime, and in your grief do
not forget that God has your dear boy in His safe keeping until that
time comes when you shall meet again where 'sorrow and sighing are
no more.' God bless you and keep you."

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
October 25, 1998