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

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Remembering a Veteran: Major Sidney Graves, 16th Infantry, 1st Division, and the Siberian Expeditionary Force

Sidney Graves with Hist First DSC
After graduation in 1915 from West Point, Sidney Carroll Graves (1893–1974) became a lieutenant in the 16th Infantry, which was part of the 1916 expedition to Mexico. During World War I, he was the only American to receive the Distinguished Service Cross in different theaters of operation, the Western Front and Siberia. Also, the action leading to his second award may have been the latest of the war.

His first DSC was awarded shortly after the division was assigned to the Cantigny sector in April 1918. It reads in part:

Having located an enemy machine gun in front of his position, Major (then Captain) Graves, with three men, voluntarily crawled out to the position of the machine gun, in full view and within 100 yards of the enemy lines, shot the gunner, killed the rest of the crew with grenades, and returned with his party without a casualty.

As the war ended in Europe, Graves sought a transfer to Siberian Expeditionary Force, where his father, Major General William Graves, commanded the American contingent. There he was cited again for his bravery under fire and awarded his second DSC for an action in November 1919:

In answer to a call to save noncombatants entrapped in the railroad station at Vladivostok, Siberia, Major Graves fearlessly entered a zone swept by intense machine-gun and artillery fire of Russian Government and insurgent forces, entered the station, and assisted in locating six noncombatants. He escorted them through the attacking troops to a place of safety.

Graves's other awards included  the British Distinguished Service Order, two French Croix de Guerre, and the Serbian Order of the White Eagle with Swords. After his return to the United States he was assigned to the staff of the commanding general of the Siberian Expedition. In 1920, he resigned as a major in the infantry. As a civilian he entered the real estate and insurance field. He is buried at the West Point Cemetery.

Source: West Point Register, Find a Grave

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