Monday, May 27, 2019

Died of Wounds in France: Raymond Lord Boone (1895-1918)

I was contacted by a gentleman who had inherited World War I dog tags which belonged to Raymond Lord Boone of New York State. He wanted my help in finding a descendant so that he could return the dog tags to a family member. Since a close relative was not found, the dog tags may be donated to the New York State Military Museum.

Raymond Lord Boone was born on 9 April 1895 to Edward and Edith (Earles) Boone. Records conflict about his place of birth. Federal census records indicate Raymond was born in New York. His military records created after his death, list New Port Richey, Florida, as his place of birth. However, his draft registration card, which was completed by a Schenectady County draft board official while meeting with Raymond, lists his place of birth as Preston Hollow, New York. I tend to think New York was his place of birth as his parents lived in Florida in the 1930s before returning to New York, according to his mother's obituary.

From at least 1900 to 1915, Raymond lived in Duanesburg, New York, with his parents and older brother Weller Earl. His father was a blacksmith.

Rt. 7 and Rt. 20 crossroads in downtown Duanesburg; courtesy of eBay 

On 27 June 1917 Raymond traveled to Schenectady to enlist in the New York National Guard. At the time he enlisted, he lived in the village of Delanson in Schenectady County, which is situated west-southwest of Duanesburg. He was assigned to the Machine Gun (MG) Company of 2nd Infantry. On 1 October 1917 the 2nd New York Infantry became the 105th New York Infantry. The regiment was strengthened by men from the 71st Regiment. It was paired with the 106th Regiment and attached to the 53rd Brigade of the 27th Division. They traveled to Camp Wadsworth near Spartanburg, South Carolina, for extensive training.

The 105th Infantry embarked for Europe from Newport News, Virginia, on 17 May 1918; and sailed aboard the Army Transport Steamer, President Grant. The last elements of the division arrived in France by late June.

Army Transport Steamer President Grant; courtesy of the Naval History and
Heritage Command

According to the New York State Museum website the, "27th division was slowly rotated into the front line in relief of the British 6th Division" on 25 July 1918. "German offensives during late March and April had driven deep salients into the allied lines near Amiens and Hazebrouck. On 31 August 1918, operations of the Ypres-Lys Offensive began in an attempt to remove the Germans from the Dickebusch/Scherpenberg area, and thus reduce the Amiens salient. This would free the Amiens-Paris railroad and safeguard allied communications. The responsibility for the assault on the 31st fell to the 53rd Brigade with the 105th regiment attacking on the left, abreast of the 106th Regiment. Over the next couple of days the 105th Regiment advanced against moderate German resistance until the entire 27th Division was relieved by the British 41st Division.

The 27th Division was transferred to the British 3rd Army on 4 September and was stationed near Doullens in a reserve position. By mid-September, the German salients had been reduced and the allied armies were finally in a position to launch their own offensive. The Somme offensive was organized and launched from 24 September to 21 October 1918 with the express purpose of piercing the Hindenburg line, a complex system of German defenses with an average depth of six to eight kilometers. On September 27th, elements of the 105th moved forward in support of an attack by the 106th Regiment. Modest gains were made, initially near Quennemont Ferme, Guillemont Ferme, and a fortified hill creatively labeled 'The Knoll,' but German counterattacks threw the two regiments back to their starting place. On 29 September, the 105th, which had been sent to the rear as a reserve advanced on The Knoll, but was checked by savage amounts of machine gun fire that rained down from the elevated German positions. On 1 October, the whole of the 27th Division was moved again, they time to Premont, where it would serve with the American 2nd Corps.

27th Infantry Division war dead on 29 Sep 1918 near Gillemont Farm; courtesy
of the Australian War Memorial

On October 17th the 105th helped spearhead an assault against the German defenses, and rapidly took a portion of the line at L'Arbe de Guise, holding it against vigorous counterattacks. The following day, the 105th attacked again, advancing to one of the main north-south German lines, which ran through Jonc de Mer Ferme before being halted by strong resistance. On 19 October the 105th advanced from their forward positions in the face of slight opposition, and easily took the main German works. The Germans, placed in an untenable position by the 105th the previous day, had been forced to withdraw. The 105th Regiment held the line until 21 October when the entire division was relieved." This series of engagements became known as the Battle of the Selle.

Raymond Lord Boone died from wounds received in action during the battle on 20 October 1918. His body was interred at the Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension in Nord, France. Busigny had been liberated by the allies in early October and over the next two months the 12th, 37th and 48th Casualty Clearing Stations operated in town. The cemetery extension was begun October until February 1919. After the armistice, the cemetery extension was enlarged when Plots II-VII were used for graves of soldiers killed in a wide area between Cambrai and Guise. Boone was interred in Grave No. 6, Plot 2, No. 623. His remains were eventually moved to Arlington National Cemetery.

Private Raymond Lord Boone's headstone at
Arlington National Cemetery; courtesy of Find A
Grave volunteer Doc Wilson

A memorial plaque mounted on a stone honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by Raymond L. Boone and four other men was erected in the Mariaville, New York, Cemetery where Raymond's brother, Weller Earl, and his wife, Janet S. (Gahagan) Boone, were interred. Mariaville is a hamlet in Schenetady County and was named after a small, nearby lake.

Memorial stone honoring Raymond Lord Boone at the
Mariaville Cemetery; courtesy of Find A Grave volunteer
Thomas Dunne

In Honor of
1st Class Private
Raymond L. Boone
Machine Gun Co., 105th Infantry
27th Division, U.S.A.

Killed at the
Battle of Laselle River
St. Souplet, France
October 20th 1918, Aged 23 Years

Erected by the Citizens of
In Grateful Recognition
Of His Services
To His Country and to Humanity

Honor Roll

Robert L. Gullings
Stephen Brown
Orson J. Smith
Frank Jeffers


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  2. Raymond L. Boone's name is also listed on the Schenectady 27th Division World War I Memorial in Veteran's Park in Schenectady:
    Photos of this monumnet are here on the Historical Marker Database:

  3. On May 27, 2019 the Duanesburg Historical Society posted a short series of photos to Face Book for Memorial Day that relate some of the story of Mariaville resident Raymond L. Boone, who died in France in 1918;