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Clyde Herman Slider

Courtesy Vernon G. Murray

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

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Clyde Herman Slider
1897-1918

"I had left Courcelles May 31st with nine hundred and sixty-five men and twenty six officers—the best battalion I ever saw anywhere. I had taken them, raw recruits for the most. Ten months I had trained them. I had seen them grow into Marines. Now before me stood three hundred and fifty men and six officers. Six hundred and fifteen men and nineteen officers were gone."

from The Battle for Belleau Wood—A First-Hand Account, Colonel Frederick May Wise

Clyde Herman Slider’s parents were Thornton Eldridge Slider and Mary Alberta Bobo Slider. Clyde was born on March 7, 1897, at Davis, Tucker County, West Virginia. His siblings were Wealtha Blanche (Mrs. James Anthony Murray), Grace Marine (Mrs. Charles James Hogg), Ray Ellsworth, and Vada May (Mrs. Herman D. Richardson).

Clyde’s older brother, Ray Ellsworth Slider, registered at Davis, West Virginia, for the initial World War I draft on June 5, 1917. He was 23 years of age, single, and working as a painter for the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company at Davis. His registration card indicates he was tall and of medium build, with dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. He enlisted in the 490th Aero Squadron of the U.S. Army, which was established on August 17, 1917. He served as a supply sergeant and was honorably discharged on July 22, 1919. Ray died in 1937 while working in a coal mine when he accidentally touched a live electrical circuit, causing him to fall from a ladder resulting in severing his spine. He was buried in the Davis Cemetery near other relatives.

On April 20, 1917, Clyde enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Baltimore, Maryland, just two weeks following the United States declaration of war against Germany. Being just 20 years old at the time, he was not yet required to register for the draft. He was assigned to Company 23 of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, which was formed on August 17, 1917, at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia. The Battalion received extensive training at Quantico in weapon familiarization, pillbox construction, fire discipline, and trench warfare.

The German passenger liner SS Prinz Eitel Friedrich was launched in 1904. When the World War I began on August 1, 1914, the ship was converted to an auxiliary cruiser in the German Navy, and during the next seven months it sank eleven ships. Following the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917. The SS Prinz Eitel Friedrich, which was interned in the port of Philadelphia, was seized by the United States Navy and retrofitted and recommissioned on May 12, 1917, as the troop ship USS DeKalb.
USS DeKalb

USS DeKalb taking Marines on board, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, 12 June 1917. Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # NH 54652

On December 14, 1917, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion departed aboard the USS DeKalb for France. Among their number was Clyde Herman Slider. Two weeks later they arrived at St. Nazaire and moved to the Bourmount Training Area at Haute-Marne for intense training in preparation for battle. During the remainder of the war, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion would take part in all of the major battles involving U.S. forces on the Western Front.

tombstone

Sgt. Slider’s tombstone in Davis Cemetery. Courtesy Brenda Pruitt

During the period between March 15 and May 13 of 1918, the 23rd Company was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Marines, and they supported the 6th Marine Regiment at Toulon in the Verdun Sector. In late May they were deployed to support defensive positions in the Chateau-Thierry Sector. The 23rd Company provided support to the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments as they advanced through Belleau Wood. German forces were attacked six times by Marines before they were repelled. Combat at times was reduced to bayonets and hand-to-hand combat in what was to become one of the bloodiest and most ferocious battles of the war. On June 18, Sgt. Clyde H. Slider was killed in action, and his body was returned to the United States for burial in the Davis Cemetery in Tucker County, West Virginia.

Article prepared by Leon Armentrout
September 2016

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Clyde Herman Slider

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