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

Henry Murphy WALSH, PFC, B Co., 361st Infantry, 91st Division
Memorial in Topeka Cemetery for Henry M. Walsh

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Killed in action on Sept 27, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

The account of the 27th Sept, taken from the 1921 publication "600 Days' Service - A History of the 361st Infantry Regiment of the United States Army", reads as follows:

"27 September - Environs of EPINONVILLE (MEUSE) and ECLISFONTAINE (MEUSE), North, attacking, 1 kilometer: At dawn, the 1st Battalion, Company "C" on the right, Company "A" on the left in the front line, Company "D" on the right, Company "B" on the left in support, passed through the outpost line of the 3rd Battalion and followed a barrage into the orchards and huts of EPINONVILLE. Company "D" was still supplying the combat liaison detachments on each flank. The battalion met heavy machine gun fire from the flanks and from well-hidden sniper posts and machine guns in the orchards and hedges. Company "B" had already been sent to outflank the machine guns that were firing on the battalion from the left flank when orders came to fall back while artillery shelled the enemy position. This order failed to reach one platoon of Company "B" promptly and the platoon was saved from isolation and consequent probable destruction under hostile machine gun fire only by a careful withdrawal while under the protection of Sergeant (then Corporal) O'Keefe's Chauchat automatic rifle. For his courage and effective fire on this occasion, the Corporal later received the Distinguished Service Cross.

The artillery next took its turn and the attack then was repeated with artillery support. Apparently the barrage fell short for salvos of supporting shells began hitting in the midst of the American troops that were already close to the objective. The enemy immediately opened up with heavy machine gun fire and as soon as the orders could be issued to accomplish it, the artillery fire and attack were stopped, and the troops drawn back."

It is possible that Henry WALSH was killed during the actions as described above.

The official American Battle Monuments Commission records show that Walsh enlisted from Idaho but there is a short article by Sarah McNeive in the Shawnee County Historical Society's publication "The Home Front" titled "Henry Walsh Monument in Topeka Cemetery" which places his family in Topeka, Kansas.

"In the Topeka Cemetery stands an imposing monument dedicated to the memory of Henry Murphy Walsh, a young soldier who died in line of duty as a "runner" in WWI. His father, Dewitt Walsh, erected the granite and bronze shaft with money he saved from his son's government pension . DeWitt Walsh was the son of Hugo Sleight Walsh, a territorial governor of Kansas. They are buried on each side of the marker. The duties of the runners were hazardous, and it was often a foregone conclusion that many would not survive performing their dangerous tasks. The monument carries this inscription:

"In living memory of Henry Murphy Walsh, First Class private "Runner", Co. B, 361st Infantry, 91st Division, born February 7, 1893. Killed in Battle in the Argonne Sept 27, 1918, and in honor of every "runner" that lost his life in the service of the AEF, this monument is erected."

Henry Murphy Walsh's body remains in the Argonne. His father stated, "That was where he was killed and that is here his body belongs. A soldier should rest where he falls."

Henry Murphy Walsh is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France Plot H Row 17 Grave 27

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