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Catalog Number 2002.50.45
Object Name Letter
Accession number 2002.50
Description Date Letter Written: December 2, 1918
Letter Written By: Robert
Letter Written To: Dorothy

Full transcription of text follows:

Claire Cote, Verdun, [December] 2, 1918 Dear Dorothy: Your letter of [November] 4th received today and will try to answer to the best of my knowledge. The day we heard of Frank's death was a sad day for me and the whole outfit as Frankie was liked by all of us especially by his own section for he was cool headed and never lost his head a moment under the most trying of circumstances, and we had many of them. As it was so unexpected, his death was felt more than the boys that passed before. I am sure glad and thank God that the war ended before [ms illegible: 3 wds] it is a horrible experience, a hard life full of innumerable risks and causes many heartaches and sorrow such as ours. The afternoon Frank was wounded will be long remember by all of us as it was a hard tight finish fight against Germany's best men the Prussian Guard and Austrian Ulhan. I came back from the Post of command where I was telephoning for the Captain and met Frank at supper about 4 or 4 30 PM he asked how things were going and I told him "rotten" which they were at that time. It was reported the Doughboys were falling back and I told Frank to clean his pistol and gave him some extra bullets. We talked along of Al joining the Navy and various other things, and he left to man his piece. As we started firing we drew the Ulhans' fire in a few moments one shell hit the first piece killing two boys instantly The next one hit behind the 2nd piece wounded Frank, Reddick, Ford, and Sell, shell-shocked Tuesdale and Selbert. They were all rushed over to the dressing station about 200 feet away fro 1st sid and wait an ambulance. Frank was hit while reaching for a shell wounding his right arm alight flesh wound, and his left buttocks. This was the worst. His buttock was cut in 3 or 4 places. I went over right after he was dressed and took his coffee and cigarettes and he was feeling pretty good then except for a pillow and I put my sweater under his head. I talked to him for 36 or 40 Minutes and they took him back to the base. He promised to write soon as he could set up. That was the last we could learn of him or any of the others as they were sent way back and we never left the front. The news of his death was the first we heard of him and we didn't believe it then as many rumors are fake but we got the officials report a couple of days afterwards and realized the truth. I will give you just what I have on my notes taken from the report. Frank was injured at Charpenty France, [September] 29th, 5:15 PM taken to base Hospital 417 Dijon France, died [October] 7th, 1:50 AM, cause Labor Pneumonia in Lower left lob. Buried in grave #37 Annex, Polygone (AA) Municipal Cemetery, Dijon, Catr'd'01., France. I took this so in case I got off for a week or happened to be posted here there I could find him.

about his personal effects, his pictures, letters and pocket book was in his pocket and his toilet articles were sent to him, with his mail. I would like to have something that belonged to him and would have had all his things if I could have got them. You will be sent some of them from the Hospital. He was loved by the battery as I said before for his nerve and cool head which is looked up to and makes one soldier love another. He was a true type of a real soldier. Captain Marks and all the boys regret the loss of our silent and beloved comrade and wish to extend their deepest sympathy/ I am with you all in this loss and regret it, as I miss him a thousand ways. My prayers are with him and for the family. Yours, Robert (R. L. Wilkes) P.S. This is the address of the place in France in case you may wish to write for more information. Grave 435, Municipal Cemetry, Annex Polygone RA Dijon, Cotr'd OI France. May God give you all his peace, is my prayer for you all Robert

Date n.d.
Subjects World War I
Wounds & injuries
Shells (shrapnel)
Death & burial