|Image from http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/|
Since our theme for this month is War & Peace, I will begin by reposting portions of the story about my 2nd cousin 3 times removed, Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen.
Corp. Gillen was sadly killed in one of the last battles of World War I, in France. He was only 22 years old.
|Photo of Corp. Gillen in his uniform before he left for duty|
Here is his story.
The Gillen family is a direct line for me. I descend from William Gillen (1782-1841) and his wife Rachel Frampton (1781-1855). They are my 4th great grandparents.
It is one of their great grandchildren that is the focus of my post today.
Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen
born 1 Jan 1896 in Chesapeake, Lawrence, Ohio
Killed in action 25 Sep 1918 in France
Glenn’s parents are Elijah C. Gillen and Bessie Etta Cowen. Glenn was the 2nd son born to this family. He had 3 sisters and 5 brothers, two of which were twins. All but the youngest girl would have had vivid memories of him.
Here is his draft registration card.
During this tough time in our country, I wonder what this young man thought as he registered for the draft.
His parents visited him before he left for duty in September 1917.
And there was a family picnic too.
I think about this family, like millions of others, who said goodbye to their sons and never saw them again.
From the Independence Daily Reporter, 21 Oct 1918, pg 3.
This article is titled HOME BOY HIT BY MACHINE GUN BULLET and is a letter from Sgt. Ben Taylor to his mother Mrs. Myrtle M. Taylor. In it he mentions his experience and then says the following:
“I don’t know how true it is but I heard that night that Sergt. Frank D. Coate and Corp. C. Gillen were killed in action….”
Glenn’s mother, Bessie, was finally able to make a journey to France to see her son’s grave, in 1931. She was 61 yrs. old and appears to have traveled alone. We can only imagine how she felt as she walked up to his headstone, so far from home.
|Name||Bessie Etta Gillen|
|Arrival Date||4 Sep 1931|
|Birth Date||1 Dec 1869|
|Birth Location Other||Springfield|
|Port of Departure||Cherbourg, France|
|Port of Arrival||New York, New York|
Here are Corp. Gillen’s parents, Bessie & Elijah and here are his siblings gathered together, years later.
Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen of Independence, Montgomery, Kansas served in the 139th Infantry, 35th Division, Company D.
You can find his memorial on findagrave.com by clicking here.
He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial in Romagne, Lorraine, France.
Here is a photo of his headstone. Used with permission.
I’m glad to have met Glenn C. Gillen all these years later, and learned a little about him and his family. He never married and had no children that I am aware of. But, his memory lives on.
Rest in Peace Corporal Gillen.
If you think you might be related to anyone mentioned in this blog post, please contact me.
If you would like to view the original posts about Corp. Gillen you may access them by clicking on the links below. There’s a little more detail and extra images in the orginal posts.
A MOTHER’S PILGRIMAGE ~ Bessie Cowen Gillen's visit to the grave of Glenn C. Gillen
FOLLOW UP FRIDAY ~ Photo of Corp. Glenn Clifford Gillen ~ Killed in Action in WW I
Copyright © 2010-2016 Diane Gould Hall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION
I could almost feel the grief of his mother, still fresh all those years later when she was finally able to visit her son. Such a sad story but thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
I felt it too Anna. If she hadn't cared, she wouldn't have made that long trip in her senior years. So happy that in doing our research we can remember stories like this.Delete
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How touching, the story of your cousin...and his family. Thanks for doing all that research on his behalf.ReplyDelete
Researching our ancestors is so very rewarding, as we bring their stories to life. It's also quite sad along the way.Delete
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As sad as it is, at least there was a grave and a headstone for his mother to visit. The bodies of many who died in the war were never recovered &/or are buried in mass graves. Fortunately, as much as possible, there are memorials in many of the cemeteries engraved with their names.ReplyDelete
I agree with you La. I'm glad there is a headstone and that she could visit.Delete
A moving story that was unfortunately repeated so often, with the loss of young men and the devastation for their families. It somehow seems even more tragic that Glen died just a few weeks before the end of the war.ReplyDelete
Sad but true Sue.Delete
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A fine memorial. I've found other examples of soldier's letters published in small town newspapers. In this age before radio and television these reports might be the only news from the frontlines that people heard. I expect it was terrible stress for families to wait for news of their sons and husbands.ReplyDelete
Thanks Mike. The newspapers back in those days were just wonderful for finding stories about our ancestors. Who was visiting whom, who was traveling where. No worries about printing addresses etc. Kinder, gentler days. The advantage we have now is that families don't have to wait as long to hear from loved ones and they can view each other with Skype or Facebook or many other ways.ReplyDelete
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You’ve done a fine job in keeping his memory alive. Aren’t the old news clippings wonderful to read?ReplyDelete
Thank you Nell. I hope so. I think everyone should be remembered. Especially someone who gave his life in service for our country. Yes, I love old newspapers. Can't get enough of them :)Delete
That first photos says so much. He has left the family behind and is now a singular person. He will no longer ride in comfort with them.ReplyDelete
That's a very good description of that photo. Alone, in uniform. Leaving all he knows and loves behind.Delete
Thank you for the insightful comment.
It's always so easy to see something in an image that was never meant when you're far removed from it. It's a wonderful shot.Delete
A lovely tribute to your 2nd cousin 3x removed. So many young men were lost and mourned by their families and friends.ReplyDelete
Thank you Jo.Delete