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WORLD WAR I  -  1917 – 1918

Laurens Bennett Strain, son of Homer E. and Viola Bennett Strain, was born April 6, 1897 in Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana. a child and a school-boy he was of a happy and jovial disposition, thus he made friends of all with whom he came in contact.  He united with the First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, Indiana at the age of ten and sang in the choir for a number of years. He was educated in the schools of the city, and at the time of his enlistment, was taking voice culture from Mr. David Baxter of Chicago, Illinois.

Laurens enlisted soon after the United States declared war on Germany being inducted into the service on May 3, 1917 in Bloomington, Indiana. As a Private in the Infantry, he was initially sent to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri. From there, he was assigned to the 20th Infantry and sent to Ft. Bliss, Texas.

After one week at Ft. Bliss, Laurens was assigned to the Machine Gun Company of the 7th Regiment of the Regular army and sent to The National Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where he received his military training.

On October 2, 1917, Laurens was promoted to Corporal and placed in Company D, 4th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd Division as Company Clerk. He embarked from Portland, Maine December 24, 1917, sailing on the Canada of the Red Star Line, and arrived in England on January 7, 1918.

He then sailed from Southampton, England to Le Havre, France and then traveled to Bourmont, France, arriving there on January 14, 1918. Here he was assigned as Corporal in Company A, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd Division and trained with the 9th and 23rd Infantry Regulars until March. In the middle of March, this newly formed Battalion to which he was assigned became part of the 3rd Brigade and left its training center for trench life and warfare in a sector near Verdun.

At his own request on April 25th, Laurens was transferred to Company C, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division as Private, remaining in the Verdun sector from March 15th to May 20th. 

On June 7, 1918, he fell in action in the Battle of Belleau Woods. A letter from the Adjutant General's Office relative to the death and location of the grave of Private Laurens Bennett Strain (serial number 107264) Company C, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, reports that according to the commanding officer of the 5th Machine Gun Battalion, Private Strain was struck in the head by a machine gun bullet on June 7, 1918 between 12:00 and12:30 A.M. He was buried the next day close to the battle line in (?) de Claremboi, Department of the Marne, just off the Paris Department of the Marne. Later, the body was disinterred and reā€buried in the American Battle Area, Aisne (Grave 79, plot 2, Section C, American Cemetery, #1764 Belleau, Aisne). Then in August 1921, the body of Laurens Bennett Strain was returned to the United States and interred in Rose Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana on August 26, 1921.

Taken from a record complied by 
     Mrs. Homer E. Strain
     527 N Washington St
     Bloomington, Indiana