Stories of Service: Henry Elbridge Knight

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 1:15 PM EST
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EASTON, Maine (WAGM) -

Every veteran has a story, and many live their lives without that story being told. Now we bring you the story of Henry Elbridge Knight, a World War I soldier from Aroostook County who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to American Soldiers.

“Henry was drafted of course. The town of Easton threw a big farewell dinner for all the young men who were leaving including Henry, and he goes down to Syracuse, New York and they had taken the fairgrounds and turned them into a military training site. In part of the training he was taken aside and given machine gun training.” Explains Kimberly Sebold, Professor of History at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

“And then they get shipped over to France and he was in the Second Battle of the Marne which is the German’s last push to push the French, British and by then American forces back. Henry’s company is there in the trenches and he’s fighting, and then his company is relieved, and he’s asked to stay behind because he has that machine gun training.”

“For 3 days he takes food and water to men on the battle field that can’t get off the battlefield. They’re in the middle of no mans land, which means that it’s filled with craters from bombs, it’s filled with dead bodies, the craters are filled with water. It’s bad enough as it is but to be somebody that is taking food and water to the wounded that are out there on that battleground, in that no mans land to save their lives is an amazing feat in and of itself, and then he’s gassed. "

“They all had shell shock, which today we call PTSD. He was honored by a local VFW for his distinguished service cross and his purple heart. Something interesting that you might not know is that World War I veterans did not get purple hearts until after the fact because Purple heart was not around until World War II.”

For More information regarding Henry Elbridge Knight, please visit: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4cc7490cf1b343b6b723991fd8acd45a