Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Remembering a Veteran: Lt. Weedon Osborne, USN, Dental Surgeon & Medal of Honor Recipient


Thanks to Superintendent David Atkinson at the Aisne-Marne (Belleau Wood) U.S. Cemetery.  Lt. Osborne is the sole Medal of Honor recipient buried at the cemetery.

The nearby village of Bouresches has dedicated a street to him as well:

Col. Bill Anderson, USMC, Stops at the Street on His Staff Rides around Belleau Wood


2 comments:

  1. The officer mentioned in the Medal of Honor citation for LTJG Weedon E. Osborne was USMC CPT Donald F. Duncan, “skipper” of 96th Company, 2nd Battaltion, 6th Marines.
    At 1730 hours, 96th Company had just begin its attack on Bouresches. Duncan had gone forward with 1SGT Joseph A. Sissler through heavy rifle and machinegun fire to adjust the position of 1st Platoon led by LT George B. Lockhart to ensure the assault went in with maximum mass. Duncan’s visit to 1st Platoon was seen by Gunnery Sergeant Aloysius P. Sheridan, a member of Lockhart’s platoon and boyhood friend of the Captain. In a letter to Duncan’s family, Sheridan described Duncan as “…the coolest man on the field always giving orders and smiling all the time.…Don came over and made us halt till the rest of the company got on line with us. At that time we were within 600 yards of our objective. While he was talking to Mr. Lockhart, our platoon leader, the bullets were singing all around us, and I asked him as a joke if he thought we would see much action. He said, ‘Oh! Yes we will give and take but be sure you take more than you give.’ I guess he meant lives.” Then Duncan and Sissler “…started away up the hill and it was not a minute till down he went”, hit by a machinegun bullet. Corporal Fred W. Hill, Headquarters Company, 6th Regiment, was nearby when Duncan was hit: “Captain Duncan walked out of [the] woods, tapping his leg with his swagger stick. Suddenly there was an explosion and a heavy burst of machine-gun fire. Captain Duncan sank to the ground.”
    Sissler shouted for assisstance, so Sheridan ran for help and brought Osborne and a Navy corpsman (some accounts say two stretcher bearers) through the enemy fire to assist. Sheridan describes how the men carried Duncan “… to a small clump of trees, all the time he was gasping, hit through the stomach.” Then “We no more than laid him on the ground when a big 8 in shell came and killed all but myself, I was knocked down but my helmet saved me, so I left them and rejoined my platoon.”
    Weeden is buried Plot A Row 3 Grave 39 in Aisne-Marne Cemetery; he was the first commissioned U.S. Naval Officer killed on land and the only Medical Corps officer to die in battle in World War I. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, and Italian Croix de Guerre. A street in Bouresches in named for him.
    Duncan is buried in Section 3 Site 4001 in Arlington National Cemetery.He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
    Sissler is buried in Plot C Row 30 Grave 25 in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.
    Sheridan and Hill survived the war.
    I have been unable to identify the unnamed Navy corpsman (likely a “pharmacist’s mate” or a “hospital apprentice” in the language of the time) or stretcher bearer(s) who reportedly accompanied Weedon and died with him.

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  2. Thanks for the original post and this extra information. It is good to remember these deeds.
    Pete

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