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Roy Irl Austin


This was copied from the Bear Lake Chapter of American War Mothers books.  There is no indication which newspaper this came from.



DeMeade Austin received a telegram last Friday afternoon conveying the bad news of the death of his brother, Roy at a detention hospital on Ellis Island.  Roy who was at first reported killed, was severely wounded on Oct 3, but none of his folds were even able to ascertain the nature of his wounds until last week they learned that both his legs were paralyzed.

Roy enlisted in the service last May.  He was at Camp Lewis but a few weeks when he was assigned to Company G 362nd Infantry and sent overseas arriving in Frances early in July.  The only personal word received from Roy since he was wounded was a card written to his brother Horace on the day he died and received last Monday.  On the card he stated that that was the first attempt to write since wounded.  Roy was the youngest son of Bishop and Mrs. E A Austin.  He was born at Liberty on July 21, 1892 and up to the time of entering the service spent most of his life on the old home ranch.  His body arrived Wednesday afternoon and was taken to Liberty for burial.  Funeral services will be held at the Liberty meeting house this afternoon.


Friends and relatives of Roy I Austin of Liberty were stricken with grief last Friday evening when it was learned that the young man was dead at an army hospital in New York.  Death came as a result of wounds received in action October 12 last.  At the time a report from the War Department said that the young man had been killed but later reports corrected this. At the hospital in Frances it was discovered that due to a fracture of the spine the young man was paralyzed from the hips down.  He was sent to the debarkation hospital at Ellis Island New York, where he arrived January 18.

From there he sent word that he was feeling better and informed his parents that he had not heard from home since his arrival overseas many months ago.  This was the cause of considerable surprise to his many folks who have written to him frequently.  Shortly after his arrival at New York reports from physicians at the hospital showed that his condition was growing worse and on January 31 word came that he had died.  In a letter telling of the young mans wounds his captain P M Stevens said: "He was performing his duty as a true soldier when he was hit by a machine gun outlet fired by the enemy."

Roy Irl Austin was 26 years of age and unmarried.  In addition to his father and foster mother, he is survived by the following brothers and sisters: Edwin A, D M, Artic CC, Torrey L, Samuel M; Horace N; Mark and H Lane, all of Bear Lake; Mrs. Maud Moyle of Enterprise Utah and Mrs. Nellie McMurray of Liberty Idaho.  Funeral services are being held today at Liberty.


Sam Austin of Liberty is in receipt of a beautiful tribute to his brother Roy, who died at a debarkation hospital at Ellis Island, NY.  It was written by Father Joseph P Clancey, who was at Roy's beside when he died and is as follows:

US Army Debarkation hospital; No 1 Ellis Island NY, Jan 31, 1919) Last evening your brother Roy asked me to write (he was too weak to so so) and tell you that he was feeling better.  However such is always the generous why of soldiers fearing to worry or trouble their relatives.  By the time you receive this letter which I hope you will show to your parents, brothers and sisters, you shall have been informed of your brother's death.  It only remains for me as one who admired him and was with him continually to relate the sad but heroic details.  He arrived at this place on the transport President Grant together with hundreds of his fellow dough boys from France. His condition was serious and an official telegram to this effect was forwarded that night to his parents.  Everything that the skill of our surgeons and loving care of the Red Cross nurses could devise was done for him.  He himself, was so patient and so gentle that every one took special pains to be kind to him; but in spite of all that was or could be done, we knew he could not live.  His injury was a fractured spine, suffered in action by a high explosive shell.  As a result he was completely paralyzed from the hips down and would never have walked had he lived.

As I intimated above, he was heroically patient.  When his wound was dressed in the morning, he would permit more than a faint moan to escape.  he came to be an object of admiration to the other patients, accustomed though they are to behold pain and suffering. A few days ago he received several letters from home and happiness in his face was delightful to see.  The three nurses who were very kind to him are Misses Perry, Love and Bannon.  They treated him like their own brother and as we stood at his bed when he died at 10:20 this morning they wept.  I am so glad to assure you and all the relatives he loved that though he died away from home, he received the  most tender care.

Last night just before I went to bed, I sat with him awhile and he talked of home; expressing a desire to be once more in Idaho with his people.  However God's ways are not our and while we cannot understand neither can we doubt the wisdom.  Though it is hard for you all to lose so noble a soldier brother and son, yet you will be able to bear up bravely when you recollect that he died the most glorious death as-the death of a volunteer in the cause of liberty and humanity.  Be sure that the dear God will reward him for his unselfish heroism."


Mr. and Mrs. Edwin N Austin of 864 Wilmington Ave left this morning for Liberty, Bear Lake Co Idaho to attend the funeral of Mr. Austin's son Roy Irl Austin, who died Jan 31 at the Ellis Island debarkation hospital.  The services will be held Thursday it was understood the body being due to arrive at Liberty today.

An unfortunate feature in connection with the your soldier's death is that according to a recent letter from the hospital at Ellis Island, he had never received word from home since he went overseas for may months ago. Though members of his family and friends had written dozens of letters to him, for some reason they had not reached their destination.  Though the young man lay suffering from wounds for a long time, he had no word from home.  Mr. Austin was wounded in action Oct 11, 1918, while fighting with his unit, Company G 362d Infantry.  Word came to his people at home that he had been killed in action but a letter message corrected this report.  He was brought to the United States several weeks ago and on Jan 18, his nurse wrote the following letter for him:

Debarkation Hospital No 1, Ellis Island, NY Jan 18, 1918

"Dear Father--I have reached the United States in good condition. I am getting along all right and feel better than I did.  I should like to hear from you very much as I have not heard from you since I left home.  I got here yesterday morning.  I was wounded on Oct 11.  I do not know if you ever got any of my letters or not.  I am paralyzed from my hips down but am feeling better. Your son, ROY"

Later word stated that he was growing worse.  A telegram dated Jan 31 reported that his condition was critical and a little later the same day another telegram announced that he was dead.  Instructions were sent to the hospital to forward his body to Paris, Ida. for burial at Liberty his old home. Concerning the young soldier's wounding, his captain wrote as follows:

"Co G 362d A E F Dec 12, 1918 Edwin N Austin-864 Wilmington Ave, Salt Lake City. Regret to inform you that your son Roy I Austin, was wounded in action Oct 11, 1918 while his company was taking the town of Geanes, France. He was performing his duty as a true soldier when he was hit by a machine gun bullet fired by the enemy. P M STEVENS, Capt. 362d"

Roy Irl Austin was 26 years of age and unmarried.  In addition to his father and foster mother he is survived by the following brothers and sisters: Edwin A, D M, Artie C, Torney L, Samuel M, Horace N, Mark and H Lane Austin, all of Bear Lake; Mrs. Maud Austin Moyle of Enterprise Utah and Mrs. Nellie Austin McMurray of Liberty Idaho.


(written on newspaper clippings-body arrived Feb 5; services Feb 7)

Impressive funeral services were held at the Liberty meeting house last Friday afternoon for Roy I Austin, who died at a debarkation hospital on Ellis Island from the result of wounds received on the battle field in France Oct 11.  The body was accompanied here by Comrade Guy Steele, who gave the parents and relatives the first detailed information they had received regarding the nature of Roy's wounds.  White the American troops were making a drive against the Huns at the village of Gesnes France on the morning of Oct 12 (sic) Roy was struck with an explosive machine gun bullet in the lower part of the back. The bullet injured his vertebra in such a manner as to cause paralysis of both legs.  The surgeon from the first pronounced his wound as mortal, but everything possible was done for him in the hope that his life might be spared.  Comrade Steele said that Roy was a most patient sufferer as he laid in the hospital in France for nearly three months before being sent to this country.  He persistently refused to let the nurse inform his relatives here of his condition.

A sad and most deplorable feature in connection with his case was that during those months of suffering he never received a word from home.  This was not because his parents in Salt Lake and his brother and friends at Liberty were not writing to him for letters were going to him almost daily.  One of his brothers stated to us that at a very low estimate 100 letters were written to him, no one of which he received nor have any of them been returned.  After a telegram was received announcing his arrival at Ellis Island, a letter addressed to him in care of the hospital failed to reach him.

What thoughts must have passed through Roy's mind as he saw shadows of death creeping upon him and not one word could he receive from loved ones at home.  His experience has been the experience of many others who spent many months "in the hospitals over there" without a letter from home.  Who is responsible for this deplorable mail service, it may never be known, but if the responsibility could be place, the guilty ones should, in some way, be made to suffer for the heartaches their neglect or failure of duty have brought to many of our boys.


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