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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Remembering a Veteran: Corporal Jake Allex, 33rd Division AEF

Aleksa Mandušić (1887–1959) was known to his mates in the 33rd Illinois National Guard Division as Jake Allex.  A 1905 immigrant of Serbian ancestry, who had been born in Kosovo, he  displayed outstanding leadership, courage and initiative at Chippilly Ridge on 9 August 1918. The action was in support of  the British 58th Division on the second day of the battle of Amiens. His Medal of Honor citatiaion reads in part:

At a critical point in the action, when all the officers with his platoon had become casualties, Cpl. Allex took command of the platoon and led it forward until the advance was stopped by fire from a machinegun nest. He then advanced alone for about 30 yards in the face of intense fire and attacked the nest. With his bayonet he killed 5 of the enemy, and when it was broken, used the butt of his rifle, capturing 15 prisoners.

In researching this article, I discovered one sad postscript to Allex's story. He returned to Serbia after the war to start a family and eventually bring them to America. According to one report, he spent several years in King Alexander's Royal Guard during this period.  Despite his wartime achievements as of 1929 he was unable to bring his ill wife and their children to America because of immigration restrictions. He returned to Chicago to work, allowing him to send money to his family.  At the time of the article, he was working as foreman of a gang of concrete layers. He is buried at the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Sava Libertyville, Lake County, Illinois.

1 comment:

  1. so not a lot has changed regarding immigration! Same here in the UK, where Afghan interpreters who worked with British forces have often been unable to settle here.