Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Storekeeper Wilbur Washington Linder
United States Navy
March 19, 1899 - July 5, 1919

     The nefarious and atrocious unrestricted submarine warfare of
Germany was a large factor which influenced America to enter the
World War.  Whatever might be said of the international law regulating
civilized warfare, the sailor, Wilbur Washington Linder, witnessed
"man's inhumanity to man" when many of his comrades perished on the
sea, and his own life was endangered.   He was born in Cannelton, Ind.,
March 19, 1899.  When he was a child of three weeks the family moved
to Coraopolis, Pa.  Ten years later he came to Evansville and attended
the Wheeler School.  Later he was employed in a grocery.  He entered
service February 13, 1917, and was sent to the Great Lakes Training
Station.  Within two months he was made a petty officer.  He was
assigned to the U.S.S. Utah, and afterwards he was promoted to first
class store keeper.  He went through the experiences and perils of an
adventurous sailor career.  The Utah escorted the ship, George
Washington, which carried President Wilson to France.  He was on the
British transport, Leinster, when she was sunk in the Irish Sea.
Linder wrote the following description of the event:
     "I made the trip to London and had a fine time - saw everything
and learned a lot.  The party on that leave arrived there safely,
but coming back the boat was torpedoed twice, the explosion being in
the postoffice and engine rooms.  Six hundred people were drowned
and but four hundred and eighty survived.  One of the boys with us
lost his mind and the rest of us aren't any too well balanced as a
result of our experiences.  Several died later.  It was cold and stormy
and we were crossing the Irish Sea.  We were taken to Cork, where
I had time to dry my clothes.  I wrote you a short letter.

     "The influenza was raging around here then and some died from
it on shipboard.  I can't figure out how it spread all over the world
so quickly.  It sure was terrible.

     "At present I am at Castletown in Ireland and our ship is anchored
in Bantry Bay.  The twenty-eighth of this month we go to meet the Royal
navy.  We will go with them for awhile and then go back to America.
The Royal navy, or fleet, is believed to be along the Italian coast
at present.  I certainly want to see Italy.  I have already been in
England, Wales and Ireland and now for Italy and then America."

   His eventful career was terminated on July 5, 1919, when he died
of cerebro-spinal meningitis.  His body was brought to Evansville
and buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery from the Simpson M. E. Church.

   Concerning Linder's death Commander Edward H. H. Old, wrote
to his mother from Portsmouth, N. H., Navy Yard:
   "It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the death of
your son, Wilbur Washington Linder, Stkpr-l, U.S. Navy, which
occurred on board this vessel on July 5, 1919, at 7:35 p.m., as
you were no doubt informed by telegram from the department.

   "The cause of his death was cerebro-spinal meningitis. I assure
you that every attention was given him by both Medical Officers and
their assistants. His courage and manliness were apparent to all.

   "Your son has died while in the service of his country during
this great war for the preservation of all that we hold as ideal for
the advancement of civilization and the uplift of humanity.  His
death is as glorious as if suffered on the battlefield, and such as
every true patriot should envy him, though I can well understand what
his loss must mean to you.

   "Please accept my deep sympathy and prayer that our Heavenly
Father will comfort you as only He can.
         Faithfully yours,
            EDWARD H. H. OLD,
  Commanding, M.C., U.S. Navy, Commanding."

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 104-105
October 25, 1998