Lawson, Charles Tell


Lawson, Charles Tell

Last Name


First and Middle Name

Charles Tell

Biographical Text

“War is a serious and inhuman affair at best, however,  it is necessary when so much is at stake.”
-Captain Charles Lawson

Charles Tell Lawson, from Lancaster, Virginia, joined the Marine Corps on May 24, 1917 as a second lieutenant. After training at both Paris Island, South Carolina and Quantico, Virginia, Lawson and the rest of the 2nd Division departed for France on October 22, 1917. They arrived in the city of Brest on November 13, 1917. His unit continued to train in France until March 13-14, 1918 where they were deployed as reserves for the French Army in the area of the front line. On March 21, the Germans began a series of offensives which resulted to the Allied lines begin pushed to the brink of collapse. After the lines had stabilized, Lawson and the rest of the 2nd Division were ordered to push the Germans back.

In this ensuing action, the 2nd Division and the United States Marine Corps as whole would earn fame at the Battle of Belleau-Wood. After five weeks of bloody, often hand to hand combat, the now hardened American Marines pushed the Germans out of the ground they had gained in the March offensives which had precipitated the Aisne-Marne Offensive.

Lawson would go on to participate in every major American action of the war, most notably the massive Meuse-Argonne Offensive of October 1918.

Immediately after the war, Charles Lawson trained fellow Marines at the Quantico Marine Corps Base. Upon being discharged on January 30, 1919, Lawson returned to civilian life as a sales engineer with a company in Pennsylvania. Lawson married Marion L. Cundiff and raised one daughter.


Nicknames or Other Names



White Stone, Virginia

County and/or State

Lancaster, Virginia

Birth Date

November 13, 1893


White Stone, Virginia

Death Date

May 9, 1979

Cause of Death


Place of Death

Oakland, Michigan


Edward Everett Lawson and Rebecca Virginia Chase


Katharine Anne Lawson, Emma Chase Lawson, and Francis William Seabury Lawson


Marion Lee Cundiff Lawson


Helen Patricia Lawson

VPI Graduating Class


Undergraduate Major

Mechanical Engineering



Service Branch

Marine Corps


2nd Marines, company 51, 5th regiment


2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant, Captain

Retired Rank


Military Events

Charles Tell Lawson served the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the St. Mihiel Offensive, and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which was the largest deployment of American soldiers so far in our nation’s history. This offensive, which took place in September of 1918, was credited as one of the final decisive blows in pushing the German’s toward an armistice.

Decorations or Citations


Battles or Engagements

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

Postwar Life

Immediately after the war, Lawson went on to train soldiers before he was discharged. In the following years, Lawson found employment as a mechanical engineer and moved to Pennsylvania and then Michigan


Engineer at a manufacturing company

Additional Notes

“War is a serious and inhuman affair at best, however, it is necessary when so much is at stake”-Lawson

Contributing Researchers

Connor Skelly


Charles Tell Lawson senior portait from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
Charles Tell Lawson picture from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
Charles Tell Lawson from the 1916 Bugle.jpg
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Charles Tell Lawson WW1 Questionairre - VPI Class of 1916 - pg 2.tif
Charles Tell Lawson WW1 Questionairre - VPI Class of 1916 - pg 3.tif
Excerpt - Charles Tell Lawson WW1 Questionairre.jpg



“Lawson, Charles Tell,” VPI in World War I, accessed August 12, 2022,

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