Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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2nd Lt. Judson C. McGrew
Co. D, 167 Infantry, 42nd Division
November 9, 1888 - July 26, 1918


     Nothing is more descriptive of a soldier's heroism than the
official report "Killed in Action."  A fitting reward for such as
sacrifice is to be "buried with military honors."  Such was the
heroism and the reward of Judson McGrew.

     "Juddy," as he was affectionately called, was born November 9,
1888.  When he completed the elementary work in Campbell School,
he entered Evansville High School, from which he graduated in 1906.
He went to DePauw University, and received his A.B. degree in 1910.

     While at DePauw, Judson McGrew displayed a keen interest in
various university activities.  He was a member of the Sigma Nu
Fraternity.  He had an enviable reputation as an athlete.  He was
an expert swimmer and skater.  He was also a champion Basketball,
Volley Ball and Tennis player.  On the walls of the Y.M.C.A. building
in Evansville, his photograph appears in ten different groups of
athletes.  He was active in the Y.M.C.A., and also a devout church
member since early boyhood, having joined the Trinity M.E. Church
when Rev. M.A. Farr was its pastor.  He was also a Sunday School
teacher. He was one of the most popular young men in the city.

     When he graduated from the university he entered the employment
of the Evansville Coffin Co.  Later he held a position with the
Richardt Insurance Co., and Speed Printing and Publishing Co. of
Evansville, and at the time of his enlistment he was employed at the
Standard Oil Co. as an accountant.

     Judson McGrew enlisted May 8, 1917, and went to the Officers'
Reserve School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, May 12, 1917.  On
August 15, 1917, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry.
He sailed for overseas August 26, 1917, on the Mongolia.  This was the
first American ship to fire a shot at a German submarine, and
sinking it.

     We can understand the ovation given to the returning heroes of
the Rainbow (42nd) Division, when we know it was composed of such
men as Lieut. McGrew.  In March, 1918, Lieut. McGrew was in command
of a sector of the front line trenches held by members of Co. D,
167th Infantry.  He won nation wide attention when, with a patrol
of American soldiers under his command, Lieut. McGrew made a raid
on German trenches, and captured two prisoners.  These prisoners
were "the first to be taken by Americans without the aid of the
French."  His men were decorated by General Pershing and Secretary
Baker.  For this gallant service. Lieut. McGrew received official
honors, and was presented with a gun of a German officer as a souvenir.

     In a letter dated April 3, 1918, Lieut. McGrew mentioned the
strenuous trench service that the Americans experienced as a result
of the drive launched by the Germans.  "I have had shrapnel hum
around my head like bees."  However, throughout this hazardous
trench life, Lieut. McGrew, like many of the American crusaders, often
thought of home.  "How I would like to see the good old U.S., and
Evansville, God Bless Her," he once wrote.  In another letter he said,
"no matter how busy you are, you always think of home, the more
uncomfortable you are the more you long for home."

     In his last letter, dated July 14, 1918, Lieut. McGrew said that
the Germans would attack the next day.  He made the supreme sacrifice
while rallying his men near Epied, France, a short distance north of
Chateau Thierry.  A telegram received by the hero's parents stated:
"Deeply regret to inform you that Lieut. C.J. McGrew, infantry, is
officially reported its killed in action July 26.
     HARRIS,
     Acting Adjutant General."

     A brief sketch of the activities of the Rainbow Division, in
which Lieut. McGrew served, is given in a letter dated August 13,
1918, from Major-General Charles T. Menohez.  "To the Officers and
Men of the 42nd Division." In part the letter states:
     "Your first elements entered the trenches in Lorraine on
February 21.  You served on that front for one hundred and ten days.
You were the first Americans to hold a divisional sector, and when
you left the sector June 21, you had served continuously as a division
in the trenches for a longer time than any other American Division.
Although you entered the sector without experience in actual warfare,
you so conducted yourself as to win the respect and affection of the
French Veterans with whom you fought.  Under gas and bombardment,
in raids, in patrols, in the heat of hand to hand combat and in
the long dull hours of trench routine so trying to a soldier's spirit,
you bore yourself in a manner worthy of the traditions of our country.

     You were withdrawn from Lorraine and moved immediately to the
Champagne front, where during the critical days from July 14 to 18,
you had the honor of being the only American Division to fight in
General Gourand's Army which so gloriously obeyed the order, "We will
stand or die"; and by its iron defense crushed the German assault
and made possible the offensive of July 18, to the west of Rheims.

     From Champagne you were called to take part in exploiting the
success north of the Marne. Fresh from the battle front before Chalons
you were thrown against the picked troops of Germany.  For eight
consecutive days you attacked skillfully prepared positions.  You
captured great stores of arms and ammunitions.  You forced the
crossings of the Ourcq.  You took Hill 212, Sergy, Meurey, Ferme and
Seringes by assault.  You drove the enemy, including an Imperial
Guard Division, before you for a depth of fifteen kilometers.  When
your infantry was relieved it was in full pursuit of the retreating
Germans, and your artillery continued to progress and support another
American Division in the advance to the Vesle.

     For your services in Lorraine, your division was formally
commended in General Orders by the French Army Corps under which
you served.  For your services in Champagne, your assembled officers
received thanks and commendation of General Gourand himself.  For your
services on the Ourcq, your division was officially complimented in
a letter from the Commanding General, First Army Corps, of July 28, 1918.

     To your success, all ranks and all services have contributed, and
I desire to express to every man in the command my appreciation of
his devoted and courageous effort."

     Mr. Borden Bur, a member of the National War Work Council
of the Y.M.C.A., who was within a hundred yards of Lieut. McGrew
when he was fatally wounded, said, "His death was a glorious
contribution to his country and the cause of liberty." The tribute
paid to his memory by Evansville, was proportionate to the splendid
heroism he displayed.
_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 114-116

cdmyers@wowway.com
October 25, 1998