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Shawnee County Casualties in WWI
Stories of Valor and Tragedy on the Battlefield

Sgt. Harry Edward BAYLY, HQ Co., 353rd Infantry, 89th Division
Recipient Distinguished Service Cross for actions on the Battlefield
Harry Bayly headstone
Harry Bayly

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Killed in action 30 Oct 1918 in the battle zone area of the northern edge of Bois de Bantheville in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. There is a discrepancy about the date of death - the History of the 353rd Infantry Regiment (page 226) states:

“The Pounder Platoon arrived in the Bois de Bantheville on the 19th October and assisted the First Battalion in mopping up the woods and advancing the line two kilometers. On October 29th, a shell struck the Stokes mortar ammunition dump in these woods. As a result of the explosion, Sgt Harry E. Bailey [sic] and Pvt. John L. Thompson were killed, and Private Clay H. Hawkins mortally wounded. The activity of this sector was disastrous to the Pounder Platoon. Casualties totaled three killed and twelve wounded; the platoon was now only about one-third strength.”

Sgt Bayly was awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross for actions on 22 Oct 1918. The citation reads:

"The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Harry E. Bayly, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Remonville, France, October 22, 1918. When the advance was checked by severe machine-gun fire, Sergeant Bayly, who was in charge of a one-pounder section, volunteered to open fire on the nest with a Stokes Mortar. Holding the mortar between his legs, he put it in action immediately and silenced the machine-gun nest, allowing the advance to continue." General Orders 66, W.D., 1919.

The History of the 353rd Infantry Regiment (page 117) states:

"It was nearly noon on October 22nd when the order came to complete the mopping up and advance to the objective ..... The advance had progressed but a few paces when it seemed like all of the machine guns in the world were put into action. Deadly flanking fire came from a clearing to the left front. The Stokes mortars section had only nine rounds of ammunition. It was a short range of two hundred and fifty yards. When the direction and range had been indicated, Sgt. H.E. Bailey [sic] of the one-pounder section, placed the mortar between his knees and fired the whole nine rounds. The machine guns in this quarter were completely out of action. Later Intelligence charts showed a great number of German dead in this particular spot as a result of Sergeant Bailey's [sic] work. The advance continued in skirmish line by filtration process."

Map of the Bantheville Forest, Argonne region, France
Above map from "History of the 89th Division"

With the One-Pound Cannon Platoon, HQ Co., 353rd Infantry, 89th Division. Buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Romagne, France Plot B, Row 41, Grave 14. Honor Roll Casualty List Dec 5, 1918.

Bantheville Today
Bantheville today

 

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