Lyle W. Barnes and Quimby American Legion post honored at D.C. WWI memorial

Published: 23 May 2024

By Erin Rydgren
via the Cherokee Chronicle Times newspaper (IA) website

Lyle W Barnes framed

Lyle W. Barnes

At 5 pm Eastern Time (4 pm Central Time) every day, “Taps” is played at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., as a tribute to all who have served in the armed forces of the United States and especially to honor those who were killed in that conflict.

Lyle W. Barnes

This year, from Monday, May 26 through Saturday, June 1, 2024, Taps will be played in dedication to Quimby American Legion Post 398 and its namesake, Lyle W. Barnes. 

Barnes was only nineteen years old when he was killed in action in France during World War I.  He had been severely wounded in action while serving with the Rainbow Division in France in March 1918. A bullet passed through his shoulder, although he was fortunate that no bones were splintered. He was awarded the French War Cross for bravery in action. After his injury, he returned to duty and volunteered as a battalion scout, one of the most dangerous types of service.

 The Chronicle Times archives held an account written by Corporal Lawrence McCulla, noting that Barnes, along with Joe Dunn of Cherokee and Paul “Ole” Jensen served as volunteer scouts. “Their duties are to [disguise themselves] and, under cover of darkness, crawl out into No Man’s Land and gain information such as condition of boche entanglements, barbwire, his out-posts, position of machine guns, etc.” 

Barnes was killed in action on July 17. An official report confirmed his death on August 20, 1918. The Cherokee Times published two letters in 1919 that were sent to his grandmother, Kate Knight, regarding his service in France. Carl Kringle of Atlantic, Iowa, served as company clerk of M Company, and he wrote, “Barney (as we called him) was a boy whom everybody knew and liked, and if ever a man was deserving of commendation, he was, for he proved himself at all times a good soldier.” He noted that Barnes was “brave and fearless.”

Knight also received a letter of commendation from the division commander, 42nd Division, that had been sent to Barnes in 1918 but was never delivered. The Commander, James E. Thomas, Captain, NG Adjutant General for the 168th Infantry, commended his actions during the bombardment northeast of Suippes on the Champaign front when the division was subjected to “the most intense and concentrated artillery bombardment of the war.” 

The letter, penned by the Asst. Division Adjutant, noted, “I am directed by the division commander to inform you that your conduct on the occasion of the bombardment northeast of Suippes July 15, 1918, when you carried messages to your platoon headquarters, being wounded traveling down a shelled boyau but continuing and delivering the message intrusted to you, has been brought to his personal attention and he considers your performance of duty on this occasion worthy of the highest commendation. He regards your actions in the face of the enemy, gallant, and an example to your comrades in arms and characteristic of that splendid standard upon which the traditions of our military establishment are founded.

Read the entire article on the Cherokee Chronicle Times website .
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