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

Mech. John C. Martin
Co. L, 120th Infantry, 30th Division
December 31, 1886 - November 3, 1918

     John C. Martin was born at Stendall, Indiana, December 31, 1886.
He was the only son of Mr. Harry C. and Lena Martin. Evansville had
been his home since he was six years of age.  He attended Baker Avenue
School, but finished his education at Stendall, Indiana.  He was a
member of the English Lutheran Church and was also a member of the
Moose and Eagles lodges.  Previous to his enlistment he was yard
switchman on the C.& E.I. Railroad.  He was the second man called in
the first draft, and was sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., on
September 6, 1917.  He was made Corporal and later chief mechanic of
Co. B. 335th Infantry.  His thoroughness attracted the attention of a
Louisville newspaper, which said of him: "The proudest man in the
company is John C. Martin, formerly connected with the C. & E. I.
at Evansville.  It's because of his appointment as chief mechanic.
Johnny is very particular about his jobs, often calling on the
officers of the company to act as his assistants, with the result
that Co. B's barracks look more like a "home" every day with the
newly added fixtures."

     In April he was transferred to Co. L, 120th Infantry, of the
"Old Hickory," 30th Division, at Camp Sevier, S.C., and from there
to Camp Merritt. N. J., where he remained for six days.  From Camp
Merritt he went to Boston on the Miltiades, an English vessel, and
left Boston on May 14 for New York harbor.  He began his voyage
across the sea two days later, and arriving at Gravesend, England,
June 5, 1918.  On the same day he went to Dover, England, where he
remained for three days, and then sailed for Calais, France.

     In a letter dated July 15, 1918, while in a road camp in Belgium,
where they remained from the 11th until the 18th of that month, he
wrote:  "Air raids are common occurrences.  I have been in many
of them, as scarcely a night passes but that we see battles in the
air. Just now as I write there is real excitement outside.  Some of
the experiences I've been through have made the outcome for the
time seem doubtful.  There are several boys here with me now, and
they are making a remarkable showing for themselves."

     Many horrible accounts of German war methods have been related.
In one of his letters he told of the great Hindenburg drive of
September 29.  He described the extremes to which desperation and
approaching defeat drove the Boches.  He said: "After the big event
I went in a mopping-up party, and went through miles of underground
tunnel.  I buried several little German boys, seemingly not more than
fifteen years of age, and we found several of them chained to machine
guns.  We found a crematory where the Germans cut up their own dead,
and used the grease for their high explosives."  It was a gruesome
spectacle of which only the eye can get a fair conception.

     After going through all the battles without a scratch in which
the 30th Division took part, he was gassed on October 19, 1918. He
was relieved from the front and sent to Beaucort, France, but because
of his weakened condition from the gas wounds and exposure,
influenza and broncho-pneumonia developed.  He was then sent to a base
hospital on October 31.  The next news of him was the following
     "Mrs. Lena Martin, 802 John Street, Evansville, Ind.
      "Deeply regret to inform you that it is officially
       reported that Mechanic John C. Martin, Infantry,
       died of influenza and broncho-pneumonia, November 3, 1918.
          (Signed)     "HARRIS, the Adjt.-Gen."

     He was buried with military honors, and now rests in
Amiens, Somme, France.

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 122-123
October 25, 1998