Heath, John M.

Title

Heath, John M.

Last Name

Heath

First and Middle Name

John M.

Biographical Text

Captain John Heath graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1910. Soon thereafter he left his home of Roanoke, Virginia, selling his cadet uniform, books, and other possessions to pay for a set of civilian clothes and a ticket to the western United States where he gained employment with an engineering corps.

When the 108th Field Signal Battalion (later attached to the 33rd Division) was being formed in Chicago John made an application for service and was accepted as a Private even though he had prior military training at VPI. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a Sergeant. When his unit was fighting over Dead Man's Hill near Verdun during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive between September 26 and 28 he braved constant fire to maintain communication lines throughout the battlefield. An action which earned him a promotion to Captain.

The next month John Heath was bedridden in an Army hospital with Spanish Flu. It was there he received word that his wife died in the United States of the same disease and that his sister, Mrs. Carrie Heath Hundall, a Red Cross nurse, was a two days ride away from his Army hospital. John left his hospital, procured a horse, and traveled for two days in the rain to meet his sister whom he had not seen in seven years. Under the care of his sister John recovered from the Spanish Flu and returned to his unit for the last few weeks of the war.

VPI Graduating Class

1910

Service Branch

Army

Unit

Company B, 108th Field Signal Battalion, 33rd Division

Rank

Captain

Battles or Engagements

  • Amiens Sector, France: 1 July - 7 August 1918
  • Somme Offensive, France: 8 August - 20 August
  • Verdun Sector, France: 10 September - 25 September 1918
  • Meuse-Argonne Offensive, France: 26 September - 23 October 1918
  • Troyon Sector, France: 26 October - 11 November 1918

Bibliography

Photograph of Officers of 108th Field Signal Battalion, 33rd Division taken on November 22, 1918 at Troyon Sur Meuse, France from the National Archives with Captain John M. Heath standing in second row, first on left (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/55234124)

Files

John M. Heath close up photograph from World War I - Officers of 108th Field Signal Battalion in the National Archives.jpg
John M. Heath unit close up photograph from World War I - Officers of 108th Field Signal Battalion in the National Archives.jpg
John M. Heath photograph from World War I - Officers of 108th Field Signal Battalion in the National Archives.jpg
Article about John Heath in The Virginia Tech newspaper, 17 April 1919.jpg

Collection

Citation

“Heath, John M.,” VPI in World War I, accessed March 19, 2019, http://vpiworldwarone.lib.vt.edu/items/show/562.

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