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FIRST ALTOONA BOY WOUNDED IS HOME
EARL G. SIMONS.
Earl G. Simons, aged 21, only son of Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Simons of 719 Fifth avenue, and a private in Company F, 28th regiment, infantry, 1st division, who was wounded in action “over there” May 28, 1918, has returned to his home with an honorable discharge, the soldier completely recovering from his wound. He claims the distinction of having been the first Altoona soldier wounded after America entered the war.
Earl was wounded in going over the top at Cantigny, a piece of shrapnel entering the right thigh. He was treated in a number of French hospitals and invalided home and sailed for the states on Nov. 11, the date the armistice was signed.
Since returning to the states Earl was reported wounded, degree undetermined, and only several weeks ago reported “killed in action” in a telegram to the parents and sent by the war department. The telegram caused no alarm, however, as the parents were in communication with the son at Camp Dix.
Private Simons was one of the first Altoona boys to get into action “over there.” and he was sent to France on June 12, 1917. He trained with the famous 5th regiment of French chaussers and was sent first to the Lorraine front. Later he was on the Toul front and was at "Dead Man’s” hill doing special duty when the hill was shelled.
Earl was twice sent to the front lines before he went over the top at Cantigny, where he was wounded, and was on the line three weeks before he was injured. He was treated at a convalescent hospital and then sent to the Paris No. 1 hospital. While there the city of Paris was shelled by the Hun long range gun. Later Earl was treated at Vischy, Cheteans, Lorney and Breth.
He sailed for home on Nov. 11, 1918, on the George Washington, an interned German steamship, which was taken over by the United States. He landed at Ellis island. N. Y, and went to Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N. J., on Nov. 26, 1918.
Earl highly praises the Red Cross, Knights of Columbus and the Salvation Army and Jewish Welfare board for their work overseas, the private coming in contact with all four organizations since he was wounded.
The soldier enlisted with Uncle Sam in May 13, 1917, and had a service of almost two years, the time, all but two months, being spent overseas. He comes from a family of fighters, both his great-grandfathers serving in the army. His grandfather, Richard T. Johnson, spent twenty-seven years in the service, being in two wars. Two uncles served in the Spanish-American war, with five cousins in the World war.
Earl has practically recovered from his wound. The shrapnel was removed from his thigh and the wound has healed. He is troubled occasionally through a slight paralysis of the muscle of the thigh.
Keywords/Tags: Earl G. Simons, G. M. Simons, Company F, 28th regiment, infantry, 1st division, USS George Washington, Richard T. Johnson, WWI, Altoona, Blair Count, Pennsylvania