Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 1918 - A Son's Letter Home

Pictured above in his Army uniform is Sgt. John Guess Jr. taken on his last visit home at the Savannah Ranch the summer of 1917 before returning to Camp Lewis in Washington Sate. Pictured with him is his grandfather John Guess on the far left, next to John Jr. on the right is his father Richard Guess and on the far right his uncle, Henry Guess.The little child called "Sonny" is believed to be a cousin.

Sgt. John Guess was with Company H, 364th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces. He along with the balance of the 91st Division were deployed from Camp Lewis toward the end of June 1918. After a train trip across the U.S. they boarded the troop ship in New York around July 11th and began the twelve day journey across the Atlantic.

They would not be settled yet until they reached France, where for a short period things were quiet.

On July 23, 1918 John celebrated his 27th birthday in a small village in France, two days after his birthday he would write home to his mother to let her know how he was and to share with her his birthday celebration.

This would be John's last birthday. On September 28, 1918 he was seriously wounded in an encounter near Eclisfontaine, France that involved the capture of four machine-gun nests and the taking of three prisoners. For this act of bravery he was awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.

John Guess Jr. died in Base Hospital 61 in France on  November 7, 1918. He was buried in the American Cemetery in Beaune, Cote d'Or - grave number 239. Two years after the war the body of Sgt. John Guess would be brought home to Savannah Cemetery, his final resting place.