Story of WWI sergeant found in The Messenger’s archives

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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Probably one of the most significant battles of World War I was the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, which was near Paris.  This was the first major conflict where American forces were involved.  In 1918, the Troy Messenger published this story about Sergeant Dye.

The Advertiser has the following in regard to a Pike County boy, L. A. Dye, who was reared at Union Hill, just north of Troy, and who is a nephew of Joe Starling, of this city.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Sergeant L. A. Dye, 359th Infantry, who was in the maelstrom of the American resistant at Chateau Thierry which broke the German advance on Paris, arrived in Montgomery Thursday morning on his way to Troy.  His parents live at Enterprise in Coffee County.  Sergeant Dye left the American advanced lines on September 28, and sailed from France on October 6.  It is not permitted by the governmental regulations to say what port he sailed from, nor what port he arrived at in this country, but his route was unusual.  He has been ordered to Camp Wadsworth, S. C., as in instructor.

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Sergeant Dye looks like the material from which the officers of the American army have been drawn.  He is a six-footer, lithe and clean limbed as an Indian, keen-eyed, quiet in voice and manner and absolutely unresponsive to any suggestions to describe his experience on the battle front.  While apparently in the ‘forefront of the American advance,’ he escaped injury, but his company suffered severely, losing a large portion of officers and men.  He admits that two of his close companions were shot down very near him, but pleaded that others had well described the sensations and experiences of active warfare and that there was nothing more to tell, when asked for his personal experience.

Writers in the weekly journals and monthly magazines have given what purport to the sensations of men “over the top” for the first time and graphic descriptions of the advance behind a barrage, but it has been noticeable that all attempts to interview actual soldiers returned from the battle lines have failed to gain any information other than that they participated in fighting.  This has been especially true of returning Alabamians, and Sergeant Dye is no exception.

     All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.