Thursday, February 18, 2010

A fallen hero

Lloyd Shelton was my great grand uncle. He was the younger brother to my great grandfather, Ira Shelton. During the past year when I started looking through the compiled histories that my Grandma Graham sent me, I took note that Lloyd was killed in France in 1918. But since he was not a direct ancestor, I put learning about his service in the back of mind--on my endless "to do someday" lists.

A new found cousin,who is also a niece of Lloyd's, sent me these photographs and it has me itching to learn more about what happened to Lloyd. Born on 29 October 1891, Lloyd was one of 8 children born to Nathaniel and Sarah Shelton in Memphis, Missouri. His younger brother, John Benjamin Shelton, also served during the Great War.

The Missouri State Archives reports that Lloyd was inducted into the Army on June 3, 1917 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. when he was 22 2/3 years old. He served with Company B of the 6th Nebraska Infantry, and then was in Company L of the 59th Infantry. The Nebraska connection was odd to me, but I learned from a very wise genealogist friend that this is probably where the military recruiter was from. All of his recruits he essentially had inducted in his home area.

Lloyd served overseas from June 29, 1918 until his death on December 4, 1918. The Missouri State Archives remarks that Lloyd "DIED 4 DEC 1918 OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION; MOTHER, MRS SARAH SHELTON, MEMPHIS, MO NOTIFIED." Another distant relative who has an excellent website here reports that Lloyd died in a military hospital in France.

Lloyd died just two weeks after peace was declared on November 11, 1918. How tragic. Imagine the relief Sarah must have felt when she heard about the Armistice. Then two weeks later to learn that one of her two boys would not be coming home in the way that she had hoped.

Although a student of history, I have never learned that much in particular about the American involvement in World War 1. This family connection makes me want to learn more. I've learned from a quick search that one of the greatest battles fought by Americans was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It went from September 26, 1918 until the end of the war on November 11th. I'm assuming (maybe not a wise thing to do), that Lloyd was wounded in this battle.

Lloyd's unit, the 59th infantry, was a part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, 4th "Ivy" Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. (Interesting note-my brother who is currently in the Army was part of the 4th infantry division!)

I think I need to see what the National Archives has about this battle, as well as Lloyd's military records. Anyone else interested?


  1. Do you know where Lloyd was buried? Is his grave in a military cemetary in France? It's just interesting to see the designations on the cross. Seems like #'s to give the precise location like what might be found in a large cemetary. Very interesting.

  2. He's buried in Scotland County, Missouri. I believe this photo is of a temporary grave in France. I think the National Archives might be able to give me some more details on when his body was repatriated.

  3. My hubby has an uncle, too, who died in WWI in France a few short weeks after arriving overseas. We placed a memory stone in his name at the American Legion in his sister's hometown. She had his body brought home to Nebraska for burial.