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  • John Adler

In Memory of Henry Loehr on Veterans Day

WWI vet Henry Loehr after the loss of his arm

In memory of WWI veteran and family member Henry Loehr, below is a compilation of information about the war and about Henry.

About Henry Loehr

Henry N. Loehr (1895-1969) was the son of Katherine (Adler) Loehr and Henry P. Loehr, grandson of Nicholas and Margaret (Steckler) Adler. He was inducted into the US Army on September 21, 1917, in Evansville, IN.

The Battle of Bellicourt/St. Quentin Canal in World War I

The St. Quentin Canal was a deep canal constructed by Napoleon in the early 1800‘s to connect two river systems in France in a great canal scheme. During World War I the German army refortified it as a part of the Hindenburg Line of defense along the Western Front. It constituted a formidable obstacle. The best feature of its defensive qualities was that tanks could not cross it due to its depth.

A short distance south of the town of Bellicourt, the canal enters a tunnel from which it does not emerge for 6000 yards. No bombardment, no matter how severe, could affect German reserve troops stationed or billeted within the tunnel since some areas in it were 300 feet below ground. The entrances to the tunnel were blocked by heavily reinforced concrete walls, defended by machine guns. With the tunnel as a safe haven for reserve troops, it became possible to maintain such reserves in perfect security during the height of the battle close to the point where they would be needed for reinforcement or to counter attack, when they could be fed through covered ways into the trenches on their immediate fronts.

The battle was fought by British, Australian, and American troops against the entrenched German lines. It began over several days in September with the main attack occurring at dawn on September 29, 1918, and lasted four more days. The attacking regiments were attacking what was probably the most formidable field fortification ever constructed, and which had successfully resisted all previous attempts for its capture.

The ensuing battle was horrific! All company officers of the attacking battalions were killed or wounded. No reports of the battle were recorded by the officers due to their losses.

The Americans made a record in this battle for gallantry and determination of which they may well be proud...These men had gone into battle against the strongest position ever constructed in the field by any army. They had undertaken their mission with a knowledge of the previous failures and losses of the British battalions. They did so with the confidence of their ability to win and with keenness for the test of their worth, although they must have believed that there numbers were hardly equal to the demand. The survivors came out of the battle but a remnant of the fine regiment that had so gallantly entered it a short time before. They came out grieved by their losses, fatigued almost beyond description by lack of sleep and nervous strain...

After four days of battle, with heavy losses on both sides, the Germans were forced to retreat...The Allies pressed their advantage on the Western Front throughout the following month, which would, against their predictions, turn out to be the final month of World War I. The armistice that ended the war was signed on November 11, 1918. This date in November was celebrated as Armistice Day until the name was changed to Veterans Day by President Eisenhower in 1954.

According to the American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, the AEF sustained about 320,000 casualties; 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 non combat deaths and 204,000 wounded.

(Above excerpted from several sources)

Notes from Henry's daughter Betty Mae (Loehr) Dewig

Henry was at Camp Taylor in Kentucky; from there he was sent to Camp Sevier in Greenvile NC; from there he was sent to Camp Merrit NJ.

Sailed from Boston MA and landed in Europe on 5 January 1918 as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF).

“Mr. and Mrs. Henry Loehr of Haubstadt were notified yesterday that their son Henry had arrived safely overseas.”

13 June 1918 EV C&P

“ Six Evansville boys are members of the “Wild Cat” or 30th division which has made a name for itself by fighting with the British troops. The local men are ...

and Henry Loehr.”

15 October 1918 EV C&P

“Henry was wounded on 29 September 1918 when his unit attacked the Hindenburg Line near Bellicourt, France. He laid on the battlefield from dawn till 4:00 PM in the afternoon. He was evacuated to a British hospital at Le Havre, France, where his left arm was amputated above the elbow. One of his legs was injured by shrapnel (which is probably the reason he laid on the battlefield all day. He witnessed all the horrific carnage occurring around him that day). Henry said that if it had not been for an English nurse who exercised and worked on his leg, he might have lost his leg also.”

Henry Loehr Lost Arm In Battle September 29

“Still another member of Company M, 120th infantry, Wildcat division, was wounded in the fighting of Sept. 29 in which this organization was so heavily engaged. He is Henry Loehr, for seven years employed at the Crown Pottery in this city and the son Mr. and Mrs. Henry Loehr of Haubstadt. In a letter received yesterday, Loehr stated his left arm was so shattered it had to be amputated and he was also wounded in the left leg. He is in an English hospital, and as soon as he is able will return home, possibly by Christmas”

3 November 1918 EV C&P

“One of the first “Pocket “ (Pocket Territory is a term used for Evansville) soldiers to wear at home that badge of honor, an empty sleeve, will be Henry Loehr of Haubstadt. Word that wounds received Sept. 29 with the 120th infantry cost his left arm came to his parents a few days ago. He was employed for seven years by the Crown Pottery in this city.”

5 November 1918 EV C&P

Henry did not return home by Christmas.

Henry had prolonged hospitalizations in Reading, Winchester, and Liverpool in England. In January, 1918, he sailed back to the USA and was placed in Water Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“Henry Loehr, home on a furlough from Washington, D.C., was honored by a reception given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Adler, 502 Edgar Street. His grandfather, Nicholas Adler, was also a guest of honor. He is a Civil War veteran. Loehr was wounded in the left arm in the St. Quentin drive. He is to return to Washington Wednesday. Others present at the supper and entertainment were: Mr. and Mrs. Henry Loehr, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Adler, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Adler, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Wolf, Mr. and Mrs. John Schutz, Mr. and Mrs. John Schrier, Misses Margaret Loehr, Katherine Kuhn and Ruth Adler, and Leo Adler, Edward Wolf, and Dean Adler.”

2 March 1919 EV C&P

Henry was honorably discharged on 11 March 1919.

"I get cold chills when I think of all that precious man did with just one arm. We lived on an 80 acre farm out here in St. Joe. He and Aunt Mary came out and built a pine wood closet for Carolyn and I. We thought we were downtown! Here we were '2 skinny, thin haired country hicks' with a brand new closet just for us in our room! I can still see him with his leg on the bench to hold the wood. Wonderful memories! He was a sweet, gentle man. We all loved him so much. We always were glad to have company on the farm."

-Marilyn (Loehr) Mossberger, Henry's niece

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