IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.


George Goeke
George Goeke

Waukon, Iowa June 14th-- George Goeke of Waukon, who recently returned from several months of active overseas service and who was wounded and captured by the Germans, tells interestingly of his experiences.

Goeke was among the draft boys who left Waukon on Feb. 25 last year, and was in training camps in this country only two months, leaving New York April 25. He was a member of Company E, 139th infantry, and served with the 35th division. He was a battalion runner and scout and his duties in the Argonne region led him on many dangerous errands.

It was on September 29 that he left battalion headquarters on what was destined to be his last scouting errand of the war. He was detailed to cross an open space and enter and search some buildings which stood within 300 yards of the German lines, with instructions to remain there to observe the enemy movements and report back if any advance should be commenced.

Shot by Sniper
He crept across the open space in safety and reached a hedge in the road near the buildings and thinking the hedge would protect he stood on his feet for a moment when a bullet struck him in the abdomen. It was fired by a sniper who located him by means of a field glass. The bullet passed through his body and out near the spine, and he fell face downward in the deep mud where he lay from 10 o'clock a.m. until 4 p.m. when he was picked up by German soldiers, who were advancing for a counter attack. His regiment had been forced to retreat because of having advanced so far that their flanks could not keep up with them. Goeke lay there conscious all that time hopefully awaiting the arrival of some of his comrades or his sufficient recovery to creep back to the American lines.

The Germans took him to a receiving station where he spent the night. He was denied water and the sergeant in charge refused him any drink but a more accommodating corporal supplied him with beer at intervals. But his wound, a serious one, was not given the slightest attention. The next day, with the assistance of two men he walked a mile to a first aid dressing station. Here his clothes were taken from him and his wound was washed out with alcohol and dressed with a small piece of gauge and a paper bandage. His wound received no further attention than an occasional treatment of that kind, but it finally healed.

Long Painful Ride
His next trip was to Sedan, France in a box car with a box for a bunk with a straw tick on it. The weather was chilly and he had no clothing but a undershirt and only a blanket for a covering. His wound pained him ___*_____ and prevented him lying down and the torture ____*_____. ______*___ them a big reception and they filled up with real appetizing food after which they departed for France. While awaiting a train at Stetsgard a German woman who could speak English told him about the kaiser's abduction and said she would like to shoot the kaiser for he had caused all the German people misery.

After praising the wonderful country of America the lady who George says was by no means bad looking asked him if he were married. George told her he was not and she very invitingly informed him that she was also unmarried. Upon a little longer acquaintance George thinks he might have brought her along home with him. Another woman engaged him in conversation on the train. She had formerly lived in Louisville, Kentucky, for several years and she declared that had the people of Germany known what the American purposes were in the war they would have done away with the kaiser long before. She told him that President Wilson was coming to Europe and said the German people feeding them after the war.

George said that he saw no prisoners subjected to brutal treatment at any time, aside from neglect, but he can fully testify to their inhumane treatment in that regard. Wounds were given scarcely any attention while patients were retarded and hindered from recovery by the lack of providing food and water.

-source: Dubuque Telegraph Herald; June 15, 1919
-contributed by Jan Miller; George Goeke is her late mother-in-law's father
-*submitters note: the newspaper article was pretty worn & I couldn’t read all the words.

Goeke family album

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