HARRISON, RAY PARKER--CAPTAIN
Son of Joseph R. and Jennie Stough Harrison (deceased); born July 14, 1891, Columbia City, Ind. Graduated from Wabash College in 1915. Served on Mexican Border in 1916. Enlisted in U.S. Regular Army; promoted to Captain. Overseas in June, 1917, with First Division. Fought at Cantigny, Montdider, and Noyon. Killed in action July 18, 1918, battle of Soisson. Buried where he fell. The American Legion Post, Columbia City, Ind., is named in his honor.
Gold Star Honor Roll: A Record of Indiana Men and Women Who Died in The Service of the United States and The Allied Nations in The World War 1914-1918 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission, 1921) Page 718. Contributed by Meredith Thompson.
Columbia City Post ~ Saturday, November 2, 1918
Capt. Ray Harrison Died a Hero. Was Wounded in Battle and Led Men Into Action After His Wound Was Dressed – Killed by Shell Fire – Father Received Letter From Friend Telling Details of His Death.
Col. Joseph R. Harrison, father of Capt. Ray P. Harrison, who was killed in action in the Soissons region on July 18th, is in receipt of letters from Captain Wm. G. Livesay, a personal friend of Capt. Harrison, which tell of the details of his death. The facts showed that Capt. Harrison died a hero’s death while in action. The statement of Capt. Livesay who was adjutant of the 28th infantry, to which Capt. Harrison belonged, sets out that he was wounded about 3:00 o’clock a.m. on July 18th. He had his wound dressed by a hospital corps man, but instead of returning to the rear went on into action and continued in command of his company until he was killed by shell fire about 6:00 a.m., while leading his company forward. The statement added that he died instantly and without pain.
Mr. Harrison has also received letters from two privates in Ray’s company who are now at Ft. Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa, recovering from wounds received in the same engagement. They are Privates Cartright and Brown and saw Capt. Harrison fall. They stated that he was killed in the Soissons drive. Both remarked that he “sure was nervy and full of courage”.
Captain Rockwold, of the Indiana Guard, now a Y. M. C. A. worker in France, said that he was in the same engagement and that Capt. Harrison was a true leader and a worthy captain. He also wrote that the least he could do was to put a flower on the grave as he knew about where it was.
The statements of the different men follow:
Headquarters 28th Infantry
France, October 1, 1918.
Jos. R. Harrison,
Columbia City, Ind
Captain Ray P. Harrison, 28th Infantry was a personal friend of mine during his entire service with the regiment. He was a most excellent officer in every respect and his officers and men had the utmost confidence in him. He was wounded about 3:00 A. M., 18th of July, 1918. After having his wound dressed by a hospital corps man he continued in command of his company until he was killed by shell fire at about 6:00 A. M., while leading his company forward. He died instantly and without pain.
Wm. G. Livesay
Capt. 28th Infantry, Adjt.
Privates Cartright and Brown, who served in the same company with Capt. Ray P. Harrison, and are now at Ft. Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa, hospital recovering from wounds received in same engagement, say that Capt. Harrison was killed in the Soissons drive and that they saw him fall and as they expressed it “We only knew him as our superior officer and he sure was very nervy and full of courage.”
Capt. Rockwold, formerly a captain in the Indiana Guard, now a Y. M. C. A. worker in France, said that he was in the same engagement and that Capt. Harrison was know to him as the big fellow that was at all the guard camps while he was in the service and that he was a true leader and a worthy captain of the finest bunch of fighting men that ever followed a flag. He also said that he expected to do a little traveling a little later in conjunction with is his work and that the least he could do was to put a flower on the grave as he knew about where it was.
Columbia City Post – Saturday, November 16, 1918
Saw Ray Harrison Killed in Action.
Dr. B. Frank Stickler of this city was talking Wednesday with Sergeant Clarence Tanner, of Illinois, brother of Ray Tanner, of Jefferson township, and learned from him that he was a non-commissioned officer in Captain Ray P. Harrison’s company and that he saw him killed in action on the 18th of July in the Soissons drive. The young sergeant was wounded himself in the same action, having his right leg shot off by a shell. The sergeant said that Capt. Harrison was leading his troops in no man’s land and that he had gone over the top and advanced abut a hundred yards when Capt. Harrison was struck by a piece of a shell and went back to the hospital to have the wound dressed. The company had advanced about a half mile further when Ray rejoined them. He had only been with them a few minutes and they were advancing alongside a woods when a shell burst about ten feet in advance of Ray. Ray was struck in the chest by a piece of the shell and fell at once. He had passed away when the men came up to him, having died instantly.
Sergt. Tanner also has an interesting history since he was wounded in the same action. He was taken back to England where his wound was fixed up and he was then brought back to this country. In the county in which he lives he was nominated for clerk and was elected on the democratic ticket, being the only democrat elected in that county. The young man expects to have a deputy do most of the work for him and plans to use the remainder of the money to be educated at Wabash college. He stated that the company in which he was sergeant had been in action several times, he having gone over the top four times.