LIEUT. DARST, MISSOURIAN, WHO WAS WOUNDED,
TELLS HOW 89TH DIVISION LIVED, SUFFERED, LAUGHED AND FOUGHT ON SOIL OF FRANCE
ST. LOUIS GLOBE DEMOCRAT MONDAY MORNING, APRIL 7, 1919
(Contributed by Stephen Darst, son of Lt. James E. Darst)
Lieut. Darst Is Missouri Born And Bred, a Soldier and Writer
James E. Darst, who held a commission as second lieutenant of infantry while he was in the army, is a St. Louisan, born and bred. As the author of this account of the achievements of the Eighty-ninth Division he has the double advantage of being both a newspaper man and a soldier who was in the think of the fighting at St. Mihiel and the Argonne forest. He was not a correspondent, living at division headquarters and poring over the statistics of training and advance, but was a platoon leader, living in the front-line trenches when it was his company's turn to live there and getting "local color" by the best of all methods-namely, being a part of the local color himself. Mr. Darst is an experienced newspaper man. He was at various times on the local department of the Globe-Democrat, was a Sunday editor and night editor. His employment with the Globe-Democrat covered a period of four years.
Mr. Darst was born in Ferguson, St Louis County, Mo., August 29, 1890.(ck: 1891?) He was educated in the public schools and the academy and college of St. Louis University, graduating there in 1910 with the degree of A.B. He has been in newspaper work in St. Louis most of the time since his graduation. After his return from overseas he came back to his former position on the Globe-Democrat. More recently he has been associated with the publication of the St. Louis Paint and Oil Dealer. When the war with Germany broke out in 1917, Mr. Darst immediately volunteered for the first officers' training camp. He served three months at Fort Riley, Kan., being commissioned second lieutenant August 15, 1917. He reported September 6 to the Eighty-ninth Division at Camp Funston, Kan., and after serving two months with the One Hundred and Sixty-fourth Depot Brigade was assigned to the Three Hundred and Fortieth Machine Gun Battalion. Three months later, in January, 1918, when the machine-gun organization of all the American divisions was changed, he was transferred wit his entire company to the Three Hundred and Forty-first Machine-Gun Battalion.
In Command of Platoon
Mr. Darst went over with Company D of the Three Hundred and Forty-first Machine Gun Battalion, commanded a platoon in the line and saw service in the Toul sector, the St. Mihiel drive and the last Meuse-Argonne offensive. He developed pneumonia after getting phosgene gas during the St. Mihiel drive and spent six weeks in the hospital. He rejoined his division just in time to participate in the last drive of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, starting November 1. He was struck soon after the drive started by a piece of high-explosive shell, and again spent five weeks in the hospital. He was ordered to the United States as a convalescent officer, arriving in New York February 27, 1919. His division is still in Germany, a part of the army of occupation, with headquarters at Treves.
History of the 89th "Midwest" Division
Missourians of the First World War