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Guest John Orfei

St. Souplet, France.

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Guest John Orfei

Could anyone lend a hand, I am trying to find out what was happening at St. Souplet, France on 17th October 1918. Our family history tells of a relative that fell(KIA) on that day his name was; George A. O'Brien - Sergeant C.O. C. 102 Engineers, U.S. Army. He was 26 years old. I believe that he is intern in France. Is there a cemetery in this area? and would his name be listed with the fallen.

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Terry Denham

Sgt George A. O'Brien 102 Engineering Regt, 27th Infantry Division

Died 17.10.18

Buried in Somme American Cemetery, Bony, France

Grave C.7.6

Enlisted from New York state

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Conor Dodd

You can get a picture of the cemetery if you go to the WW1 roll of honour and enter O'Brien and hit the link before the name with go on it at the following link .

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Guest John Orfei

Thank you, Terry and Conor for your help in this matter.

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Frank_East

John,

St Souplet was the area of operations of the 27th and 30th Infantry Divisions of the US Army in their pursuit of the retreating German Army in the Somme Offensive Operation of 6-21 October 1918.This was part of the Allied advance on a wide front to break through the Hindenburg defensive line which became known as the Advance to Victory.

As you say Sgt George O'Brien was a member of the 102nd Engineer Regiment.This regiment was one of a number which composed the Divisional Troops of the 27th (New York State) Division, a National Guard Division.

On 17th October 1918,the 27th Division having pushed up initially behind the 30th Division were in a position to capture Jonc de Mer Ridge and La Roue Ferme (a few kms East of St Souplet), both fell the next day to the 27th Division.

Sgt O'Brien died on 17 Octber 1918 and I would say that he would have been initially buried in a British battlefield cemetery before his remains were transferred to the American Somme Cemetery at Bony ( 20kms to the South West) when that cemetery was created.

The American Battle Memorial Commission WW1 Database has the detail of Sgt O'Brien's grave at Bony which lies on the N44 15 kms north of St Quentin.

Nearby at Bellicourt on the N44 is the ABMC's Memorial to the 27th and 30th Divisions. It is quite a superb memorial giving comprehensive details of the operations carried out by these two Divisions in the surrounding areas.

Regards

Frank East

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Guest John Orfei

Thank you, Frank I believe you may have hit the mark. Family history(oral) tells that Sgt. O'Brien was interned with other soldiers(British ?) and then later transferred to an American Cemetery somewhere in France. Now the cemetery is located (Somme, Bone France) and grave c.76 is his final resting place is now secured. I will pass this information onto other family members. Thanks to all that took the time to reply.

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Mark Hone

St Souplet is a very pleasant village just outside Le Cateau. My great-uncle, Private John Hone, 1st Royal Warwicks is buried there. He was killed on 24th October 1918 near Valenciennes, but died of wounds at a hospital near St Souplet. It is ironic that he is buried here as his war began at the Battle of Le Cateau in 1914. I have visited the cemetery several times and I am sure that there is at least one American grave there. unfortunately I can't locate a photograph of a small Stars and Stripes in front of the grave which I recall taking on my last visit. The florist in St Souplet is very friendly-in fact I owe her a couple of quid as she let me have a lovely wreath to lay on my great-uncle's grave cheap because I didn't have enough change.

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Mark Hone

Just to clarify my last post I am talking about St Souplet CWGC cemetery. You do see the odd American in British war cemeteries-was this an expression of the family's wishes? After all, as happened with Sgt O'Brien it would have been straightforward to remove the body at St Souplet to the relatively nearby Bony.

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Guest John Orfei

I think that to much time has pasted as to know what the family's wishes were at that time for Sgt. O'Brien. However, there is a small black headstone in memorial to him in the Gates of Heaven Cemetary in Westchester, County New York. Which was placed there by his sister, Elenore, who was later interned their in 1922. Perhaps on my next visit to this Cemetary I can check their records for information. Thank you.

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paul guthrie

John the superintendent at Bony is David Atkinson , a very helpful fellow.

Somme.Cemetery@abmc-erl.org They will send a picture of the cemetery with a polaroid of his grave in the corner.

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Guest giorgio60

This link is old, but I just discovered it. George O'Brien was my grandfather. His only son was my father. My dad was born 9/24/18 and Sgt. O'Brien was not directly aware of his birth before he was killed, communication being slow in 1918.

My father, and years later my son, George IV, separately visited the cemetary site. My son has a rubbing from the gravestone. I, unfortunately, have not visited Bony yet.

Sounds like a relative from Elenore's side was inquiring. I don't know them, but would like to. I only knew my grandfather's sister Ruth in NYC.

George A. O'Brien III

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ph0ebus
This link is old, but I just discovered it. George O'Brien was my grandfather. His only son was my father. My dad was born 9/24/18 and Sgt. O'Brien was not directly aware of his birth before he was killed, communication being slow in 1918.

My father, and years later my son, George IV, separately visited the cemetary site. My son has a rubbing from the gravestone. I, unfortunately, have not visited Bony yet.

Sounds like a relative from Elenore's side was inquiring. I don't know them, but would like to. I only knew my grandfather's sister Ruth in NYC.

George A. O'Brien III

Hi George,

My grandfather's unit was also operating around St. Souplet around the time in question...but he was a Private with the Prussian Army's field artillery. You can read a little bit about him and his unit's activities at St. Souplet here:

http://ph0ebus13.googlepages.com/home

His unit took some casualties in St. Souplet as well. My source was the Unit Diary for the 43rd FAR.

Take care,

-Daniel

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Guest alafoley

That's my grandfather George A. O'Brien. We have visited his grave and have photos. We also have all his war information.

What is your relation to him? Let me know who you are and how I can help you.

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Guest Antoine Artiste

My grandfather was Francis Aloysius O'Brien brother to George A O'Brien, the gentleman and soldier that is the the subject of this thread.

I have always been curious about his story. I happened to be France last summer and I traveled from Paris to Saint Quentin by train and then by car through the French countryside to the Bellicourt American Monument and then to the Somme American Cemetery in Bony.

I saw his marker on a beautiful June day with poppies blooming alongside the road.

It was very enjoyable to read the posts here, many from my realtives that are part of George O'Brien's life.

I want to share this citation I found during my search. It is from a book titled The Story of the 27th Division Volume 2 by John Francis O'Ryan

Quote

SERGEANT GEORGE A. O'BRIEN (1201736), company C, 102d U.S. Engineers (deceased). S.O.86.

For extraordinary courage and determination in carrying forward under heavy artillery and machine gun fire, for more than 1,000 yards, previously prepared foot bridges to be erected across LeSelle River, at St. Souplet, France, October 17, 1918. These bridges went forward with the first skirmish line of our attacking infantry and required the display of unusual physical strength and endurance under exceptionally dangerous conditions.

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Grant Tinney
On 18/12/2012 at 18:03, Guest Antoine Artiste said:

My grandfather was Francis Aloysius O'Brien brother to George A O'Brien, the gentleman and soldier that is the the subject of this thread.

I have always been curious about his story. I happened to be France last summer and I traveled from Paris to Saint Quentin by train and then by car through the French countryside to the Bellicourt American Monument and then to the Somme American Cemetery in Bony.

I saw his marker on a beautiful June day with poppies blooming alongside the road.

It was very enjoyable to read the posts here, many from my realtives that are part of George O'Brien's life.

I want to share this citation I found during my search. It is from a book titled The Story of the 27th Division Volume 2 by John Francis O'Ryan

Quote

SERGEANT GEORGE A. O'BRIEN (1201736), company C, 102d U.S. Engineers (deceased). S.O.86.

For extraordinary courage and determination in carrying forward under heavy artillery and machine gun fire, for more than 1,000 yards, previously prepared foot bridges to be erected across LeSelle River, at St. Souplet, France, October 17, 1918. These bridges went forward with the first skirmish line of our attacking infantry and required the display of unusual physical strength and endurance under exceptionally dangerous conditions.

 

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Grant Tinney

Hi all, I stumbled across this forum whilst I was doing some research on the only son, Arnold Alexander Macully of the 1st owner of our home in Brighton, South Australia who lost his life 24th October 1918 near St. Souplet France. He was initially injured at 4.30pm on the 23rd October from German Artillery fire directed from the nearby German held town of Bazuel. He was a Gunner on an 18 pound Field gun of the Australian 14 AIF, 54th Battery. His unit was ordered to set up in an Orchard in St. Souplet and commence bombardment of German positions in Bazuel at 1.30am that night. They finished setting up and were enjoying a drink of Tea in their dugout when the German shell hit, immediately killing 1 and injuing another 12 including Arnold. He was taken by Field Ambulance to the nearest Field Hospital set up in Bohain where he was pronounced dead at 5.00am the next morning. He is buried at Premont British Cemetery a few miles up the road.

My wife and I paid our respects at Arnold's Gravesite in July and visited St, Souplet, Bohain etc to try to get a sense for what went on, landscape, distances involved etc.

I was very interested to read all the comments above as I knew that virtually all Australian units were pulled out of the line for R&R after the major Battles a couple of months earlier. The exception were Arnold's 54th Battery and 2 other Batteries which stayed to assist the Americans. So the answers above provide some background as to which American units he may have been attached to.

I was also interested to hear Daniel's ( phoebus ), post re his Grandfather being a Private in the Prussian Field Artillery based in that region at that time. My own history is German on both sides and my Grandfather on my Dad's side was based within 50km of there on that date however details are sketchy so I continue to research that area.

Regards Grant

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Arnold Alexander Macully South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau.pdf

Edited by Grant Tinney
added pdf

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