Tebbs, John Alexander


Tebbs, John Alexander

Last Name


First and Middle Name

John Alexander

Biographical Text

“Tebbs was badly gassed during the fighting in France and spent three months in the hospital as a result of his experience.”
-The Virginia Tech, reporting on Captain Tebbs returning to the United States on April 3, 1919

Only a month after the United States joined the Allied war effort in April 1917, John Alexander Tebbs joined the Marine Corps and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After completing training at Quantico, Virginia, Tebbs to France and arrived on June 8, 1918. Once there, Tebbs was quickly transferred to the 6th Marine Machine Gun Battalion and was rushed to the front to join that unit which was already fighting in the Aisne-Marne Offensive.

In the Aisne-Marne Offensive, Tebbs participated in the last phase of the Battle of Belleau Wood, where his machine gun battalion was tasked with providing suppressing fire for the final Marine assault to the Wood. Due to the ferocity of the Marines of the 4th and 5th Regiments, along with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, German soldiers at Belleau Wood nicknamed the Marines “Teufel Hunden” or “Devil Dogs.” Belleau Wood was later renamed “Bois de la Brigade de Marine,” meaning “The Wood of the Marine Brigade.”

After the Aisne-Marne Offensive, Tebbs and the 6th Machine Gun Battalion participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive, where Tebbs received minor wounds from a German bullet. In late September, his unit was transferred to the Meuse-Argonne. It was there, on October 4, 1918 that Tebbs was involved in a gas attack near the Mont Blanc Ridge. In his Marine Corps service report, Tebbs recalled that this gas attack was, at first, not serious enough to warrant leaving front-line service. However this, combined with another wound sustained on November 2, removed Tebbs from the fighting. Four months after the armistice, in March 1919, Tebbs was still recovering from his wounds. In a report from medical staff at Quantico, doctors reported that Tebbs’ physical condition was fair and that he was still suffering from shortness of breath and occasional bouts of coughing.

John Tebbs returned to the United States and continued to serve in the Marine Corps, during which time he rose to the rank of Major. While in the Marine Corps Tebbs was sent to Haiti in 1922 and then to China in 1934. When he died on June 11, 1945, he was survived by his wife Lillian.

Nicknames or Other Names



Leesburg, Virginia

County and/or State

Leesburg, Virginia

Birth Date

March 9, 1893


Leesburg, Virginia

Death Date

June 11, 1945

Cause of Death

Heart Attack

Place of Death

Tyrone, Adams, Pennsylvania, USA


Father: Richard Henry Tebbs Mother: Lillian Tebbs


William Tebbs and Dick Tebbs


Lillian Veir White- Marriage Date: November 1920


No children

VPI Graduating Class

VPI Class of 1916

Undergraduate Major

Electrical Engineering



Service Branch

United States Marine Corps


6th Machine Gun Battalion, 4th Marine Brigade, 2nd Division



Retired Rank


Military Events

Involved in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Tebbs was wounded at St. Mihiel from a German bullet. On October 4, 1918 he was involved in a gas attack. Then, on November 2, sustained another wound and was removed from active service for the duration of World War 1.

Battles or Engagements

Aisne-Marne Offensive (fought in the Battle of Bellau Wood), St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Other Events

He remained a Marine until his death in 1945.

Postwar Life

Remained in the Marine Corps until his death in 1945



1927 "Virginia Polytehnic Institute in the World War" booklet

Yes, page 143

Additional Notes

John Tebbs served in the US Marine Corps during World War I alongside his two brothers, William Tebbs (VPI Class of 1909) and Dick Tebbs (VPI Class of 1907).

Contributing Researchers

Daniel Newcomb


John Alexander Tebbs senior portrait from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
John Alexander Tebbs picture from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
John Alexander Tebbs from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
John Alexander Tebbs picture from the 1914 VPI Bugle.jpg
Shoulder sleeve insignia of the 6th Marines Machine Gun Battalion, from an unidentified Marine.jpg
Aisne-Marne Offensive.jpg



“Tebbs, John Alexander,” VPI in World War I, accessed August 12, 2022, https://vpiworldwarone.lib.vt.edu/items/show/177.

Output Formats

Comments (if you have information about a veteran or would like to talk about a veteran, also email the project director Daniel Newcomb at danieln1@vt.edu with your information or question)

Joseph Reich

Do you have access to my research on Hokie WW One aviators? Marc at Special Collections has a copy. 



nice post


Donald J Jones



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