WWI Profile: Elder Eugene Heath 1896-1984

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Source: 119th Infantry Unit Rosters for Company H to Company M, Page 13

Elder Eugene Heath
Bolivia, Brunswick County, NC
NC National Guard

May 27, 1917 – April 7, 1919
May 12, 1918 – April 2, 1919
Severely Wounded: September 29, 1918

Elder Eugene Heath was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, NC.

On May 27, 1917, at the age of 19, Elder Heath enlisted in the NC National Guard by way of the Boys’ Brigade, as described in a previous post. He was eventually assigned to Co. I, 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division.

Cpl Heath’s NC WWI Service Card shows he was a Private. Company rosters, such as the one pictured above, US Army Transport records to and from France [Source: ancestry.com], casualty lists printed in newspapers at the time [see below], and his military flat marker refer to him as Corporal Elder E. Heath. It is not unusual for discrepancies in historical records, and the evidence is overwhelming that the service card is incorrect.

Before settling at Camp Sevier, SC, the soldiers were at Camp Jackson, SC. There, photographs were taken. This photograph is Pvt Thomas Newton Bryson (on the left) with three unknown fellow soldiers. [Source: NC State Archives] Pvt Bryson also served in the 119th Infantry. More about Pvt Bryson later.

Previous posts described training with the 30th Division at Camp Sevier, SC, the transportation to France, and events up to and including the Hindenburg Line assault.

Cpl Elder Heath was seriously wounded during the assault on the Hindenburg Line, along with many of his comrades in the 30th Division. Recall that History, 119th Infantry, 60th Brigade, 30th Division, U. S. A. Operations in Belgium and France, 1917-1919 reported the casualties in the 119th Infantry on that day were as follows:

146 KIA
691 Wounded
16 Died of Wounds
37 Taken Prisoner
12 MIA

Source: The commonwealth [Scotland Neck, NC], December 17, 1918, p. 4

This (partial) casualty list appeared in many newspapers after he was wounded.

Pvt Newton was also severely wounded that day. He recuperated in France and had this photo taken, again, with an unknown fellow soldier. [Source: NC State Archives] Pvt Newton’s photographs give us a glimpse into the experience of the other soldiers from the 119th.

Cpl Heath luckily had a complete recovery, returning to duty December 2, 1918. [Source: 119th Infantry Roster, Page 91] The war had ended a month earlier.

When he boarded USS Huron on March 21, 1919, to return to America, the passenger list shows All Class “A” (fit for duty).

After Cpl Elder E. Heath was discharged, he married. It doesn’t appear he had children.

Elder Eugene Heath was laid to rest in Columbus County, NC in 1984. He was 88 years old.

If you would like to help us honor Elder Eugene Heath or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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