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Walter Deco Reed
From Soldiers of the Great War

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Walter Deco Reed
1892-1918

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”

Calvin Coolidge

Private Walter Deco Reed, born July 17, 1892, hailed from Oxford, Doddridge County, West Virginia. The caption under Pvt. Walter D. Reed’s picture in Soldiers of the Great War, Vol. 3 (Washington, D. C.: Soldiers Record Publishing Association, 1920, p. 402) indicates he died of wounds; however, military records indicate he died of non-battle causes. His picture shows a jauntily dressed young man with boater hat and high collar and tie, typical of the formal portraiture of the day.

Little is known of his family or his early life, but Walter’s World War I draft registration card provides some details about the man. In this document he stated that he was born near Leopold, West Virginia, and was currently employed by Jake Cox of New Milton in farming and saw milling. Walter was single, and he indicated that his mother was dependant on him for support. The registrar reported that Pvt. Reed was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair.
Registration Card
Walter Reed's registration card

Brookwood American Cemetery
Brookwood American Cemetery, Brookwood, England.
Courtesy American Battle Monuments Commission.
Pvt. Reed was assigned to Company L, 118th Infantry, 30th Division of the Army Expeditionary Forces. On October 30, 1918, he died of pneumonia and meningitis in France. Walter Deco Reed was buried in Plot B, Row 1, Grave 3 in the Brookwood American Cemetery in Brookwood, England. This small cemetery of four and a half acres is approximately twenty-eight miles southwest of London, and it contains the graves of 468 American military personnel. It is adjacent to military cemeteries of the British Commonwealth and other Allied nations. In addition to the four plots of headstones grouped around a flagpole, there is a chapel, on the walls of which are inscribed the names of 563 of the missing and those whose graves are in the sea.

Article contributed by Patricia Richards McClure

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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