LIEUT. JOHN H. DAVID KILLED IN FRANCE
The Dillon Herald, Dillon, South Carolina, March 14, 1918, Vol. 22, No. 18
The First to Volunteer for Foreign Service
His Death Brings Sorrow to Hundreds of Friends in State and County
Lieut. John H. David, [The Citadel Class of 1914] fighting in France, was killed in action March 1st. This announcement will bring genuine sorrow to scores of Lieut. David’s friends throughout the county and state.
Cadet Second Lieutenant John Hodges David, Jr., Class of 1914. From the 1914 Sphinx.
Photograph likely taken by Capt. Louis Knox, The Citadel.
The details of Lieut. David’s death were not given. His father Dr. J. H. David, received a telegram from the war department Monday night at 7 o’clock announcing that Lieut. David had been killed in action March 1st.
There was no more popular young man in Dillon county than Lieut. David. He numbered his friends by the hundreds, not only in Dillon county but all over South Carolina.
Graduating from the South Carolina Military academy in the class of 1914, where he took a high stand in his classes, Lieut. David returned to Dillon and was associated with his father in agricultural and mercantile pursuits until the declaration of a state of war between the United States and Germany.
RELATED: FIRST CITADEL MAN LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE
Lieut. David was the first Dillon county boy to seek admission to the officer’s training camp at Ft. Oglethrope, but was rejected on account of a slight physical defect. Having offered his services to his country he could have returned to his usual pursuits in civil life without the slightest sacrificed of honor, but he was determined to be of service to his county and going to Washington he secured a special permit from the War Department admitting him to the officer’s training camp. Here he took a very high stand and at the end of three month’s was given a first lieutenant’s commission.
When his company commander asked for volunteers to go to France Lieut. David was among the first to offer himself for foreign service, being the first Dillon county boy to volunteer for service abroad. After a brief furlough at home he was ordered to New York where he spend several weeks drilling raw recruits and preparing men for foreign duty. He sailed for France in October and shortly after his arrival was assigned to duty in the trenches. Letters were received from Lieut. David at regular intervals and while he was not permitted to tell what part he was taking in the war, yet a careful reading between the lines showed that he was in the fiercest of the fighting. In one letter he told of having been in the trenches for several weeks in mud and water waist deep and spoke of the comforts he enjoyed while out of the trenches for a brief rest.
While the details of Lieut. David’s death will not be known until a fuller report is received from the war department, yet it is probable that he lost his life in the fierce fighting between the American and German forces on March 1st. This was the first big engagement with the enemy and although the Americans were victorious, the casualty list was heavy. In this engagement the Germans using all the barbarous methods they could conceive of to demoralize the America forces. But their attacks were met with undaunted courage and they were finally driven back to their trenchers with great loss of life.
The first to volunteer for service abroad, Lieut. David was the first Dillon county boy to die in action on foreign soil. His death brings the war with its attendant horrors close to the hearts and homes of hundreds of Dillon county people.
In early life John David’s ambition was to be a soldier. It was a dream of his boyhood days and as he grew into young manhood his fondness of the military increased. Shortly after entering the Citadel with unabated energy and when he graduated from this institution he took a high stand in military science. He promptly took advantage of the first opportunity circumstances offered to follow the profession he loved so well and it is safe to say that is his manner of death had been of his own choosing he would have preferred to die as he did – a soldier’s death on the battle field fighting in defense of human rights and liberties.
Cadet Lieutenant David (right oval) and Cadet Company “C” at The Citadel on Marion Square, Charleston, South Carolina. From the 1914 Sphinx, the annual of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
John David will be missed in the community. He was a model young man who held truth and honor as priceless gifts and his entire life from his early boyhood days was above reproach. He was popular not only at home where his life had been an open book but number in friends by the score all over South Caroline. A gentleman at all times he was polite and courteous to all classes, and his untimely passing brings poignant sorrow to the homes of the humble as well as the great.
Lieut. David is survived by his father and mother, Dr. and Mrs. J. H. David, and the following sisters; Mrs. E. O. Bransford, Mrs. W. W. Dixon and Misses Helen, Edna and Alice David.
As a mark of respect to Lieut. David all the stores and business housed in Dillon closed from 12 till 1 o’clock Tuesday while the graded schools closed for the day.
/end newspaper obituary
With special thanks to…
Ms. Helen B. Moody, Dillon County SC Library genealogy volunteer, who provided this obituary along with other many news articles and letters about 1Lt. David.
Mr. Kevin Bristol, ’92, and Mr. Richard Hodges, ’72, who provided photos and details from several sources.