Doughboy Monument

This 12-foot-tall bronze monument would not have been possible without the War Mothers of Henry County.  Led by Ms. Lynn C. Boyd, the organization helped to collect food for needy Hoosier families during the war from 1917 to 1918.  Many had sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers who served in the Armed Forces.  They helped to raise the $1,500 needed for this statue.

 

On Sunday, August 26, 1929, the War Mothers dedicated the Doughboy Monument in Memorial Park.  Civil War veteran Capt. James Tyner unveiled the monument for a large crowd.  It was the first memorial to be erected in the park; in fact, the park itself was named to commemorate the sacrifices of Henry County men and women during WWI.  This Doughboy is one of only 1,100 such WWI monuments left in Indiana.  It depicts a WWI soldier in full battle attire, carrying an M1903 Springfield rifle in his left hand while he holds an MK II American grenade in his upraised right hand.

Over three million American men and women served in the Armed Forces during WWI, including over 2000 people from Henry County.  Many were soldiers and sailors but just as many were cooks, radio operators, clerks, nurses, dock workers, truck drivers, engineers, mechanics, and civil engineers.  This park, along with this monument, pays tribute to all of them.
Keep reading for a few stories of Henry County people during WWI!

Brigadier General Omar Bundy of New Castle, Indiana

Many Hoosiers gave their lives for democracy and others served with distinction. General Omar Bundy of New Castle is worthy of special note. He led the American 2nd Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and was second only to General John “Blackjack” J. Pershing, supreme commander of the U. S. Army.  Bundy was a lifelong military man who fought in the Philippines in 1890, and, after the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, the newly appointed General led his men into France in 1917.

Dr. Walter Urban Kennedy of New Castle, Indiana, wearing a typical Doughboy uniform.  He served as a Captain in the Medical Corps in France.

Many soldiers wore uniforms like Captain Kennedy.  Why were they called doughboys?  The term is very old and has many origins dating back to the time of Napoleon in Europe.  Americans began using it during the Mexican-American War in 1846-1848.  American soldiers marching through Mexico were often covered in white dust from the road, making them look like walking loaves of bread!  An old joke suggested that the doughboys were “kneaded” in 1914 when WWI began but did not “rise” to the occasion until American troops went overseas in 1917.

The Fight of American Marines at Belleau Wood (1921) by French war correspondent Georges Scott

In June 1918, German forces attempted to push through Belleau Wood 96 miles outside Paris in a last desperate attempt to take the city.  General Bundy and his men defied French overseers’ orders to retreat and held the line, taking heavy casualties.  They successfully counter-attacked and, as seen in the painting above, captured 15,000 German prisoners. The event established General Bundy as a celebrated war hero.  Bundy Avenue in New Castle is named in his honor.  The battle is also an important part of the history as the U. S. Marines established a reputation as fierce fighters.

World War I is often forgotten in American history.  We hope that this monument and these stories have inspired you to think more deeply about the sacrifices of our troops and the importance of history.

Share