A Hero In Fact

A Hero In Fact

Ninety-five years ago today, Patrick Craven (Taddle) was killed in action in France during World War I.

A few months later, Sgt. John B. Ralph wrote a letter to Taddle’s mother, Annie Doyle Craven. He described the events of Taddle’s death:

“On the morning of October 1, 1918, the fifth morning of the Argonne Forest drive, the Germans counter-attacked us at Apremont, and as our infantry regiments had heavy casualties, we were holding the line with our machine guns, although the Huns outnumbered us three to one. Pat stuck to his gun till we had completely repulsed them and routed them. That showed the good soldier he was, also the red American blood that flowed within him.

“About 1:30 A.M., the boys finding themselves without water, your son Pat and Robert Artz, of Donaldson, volunteered to go through the heavy shell fire and replenish the boys’ canteens. They went to the spring, which was alongside the main road of Apremont, about three hundred yards from their gun position, and Pat was beginning to fill his canteens when a shell burst close by.

“The concussion threw Pat about 10 feet, killing him instantly, although not a piece of shrapnel hit him or any marks upon his body whatsoever. Artz was hit with three pieces of shrapnel, severely wounding him, and was taken to a hospital right away. It was there in the road that I found Pat several minutes later.

“Although you lost your dear son, I too lost a good pal, and it grieved me deeply. Pat was a good comrade, well liked and cherished by all, a soldier unafraid, a hero in fact, though like many others that go unmentioned, yet we boys will always remember our old comrade, who gave his life for us.”

The clipping above is from the Harrisburg Telegraph, September 24, 1921. It was written when Taddle’s body was brought back to Williamstown to be buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery.

May God grant eternal rest to Patrick and all people killed through violence and war.

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