Thomas F. Enright

United States Army Soldier. He was one of the first three servicemen -– along with Corporal James Bethel Gresham of Evansville, Indiana, and Private Merle D. Hay of Glidden, Iowa — to die in combat in World War I. Born in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Irish immigrants, Enright was the first child of his generation born in the U.S. He enlisted in the Army in 1909 and saw service in China, the Philippines, and, in Mexico, in both the Verz Cruz and Pancho Villa expeditions. Enright, Gresham, and Hay were all serving in Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Divison (“The Big Red One”) in trenches in near the village of Bathelémont les Bauzemont in Lorraine, east of Nancy, in what was supposed to be a quiet sector, to allow the division some seasoning before being sent to more active sectors. On the night of November 2-3, 1917, the Germans, suspecting that the Americans had moved into the area, conducted a trench raid on the 16th’s position to capture prisoners for interrogation. Hay and Gresham were killed in the initial attack, not recognizing the Germans soldiers in the dark, and Enright was killed as he resisted being taken captive. The Germans left with every piece of American equipment they could lay their hands on, as well as eleven prisoners. The three were originally buried where they fell, and the French Government erected a monument to their memory (it was destroyed by the Germans in 1940). Enright’s body was returned to the U.S. in July 1921, and he was given a week-long memorial by the city and citizens of Pittsburgh, including a lying-in-state in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. The current monument near Bathelémont was erected after World War II.

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