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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Moss, Watkins A. (P1, C2 L21)

moss watkins a headstoneSergeant Watkins A. Moss, 29, a native of Saxe, Charlotte County, Virginia was living in Louisville when he joined the Kentucky National Guard. Moss died in a train wreck at Gael, France on 26 October 1918 while serving as a Supply Sergeant with Headquarters Company of the 138th FA 38th Division on federal active duty during World War One. Moss originally joined Headquarters of Company D of the 1st Kentucky Infantry Regiment. His unit was redesignated Headquarters Company of the 138th Field Artillery at Camp Shelby.

See Kentucky Guard Railroad Related Fatalities 1917-18

His unit was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for training. They left Camp Shelby on 18 September 1918 and set sail from New York on 6 October 1918. They arrived in Liverpool England on 18 October 1918 and in Cherbourg, France on 22 October 1918.

According to correspondence by Captain J. C. Hobson, Jr. of the 138th - At 8:50 P. M., October 26, 1918, while enroute from Cherbourg, France, to a training camp at Meucon, France, a train carrying the 113th Ammunition Train collided with the 138th Field Artillery, which had just stopped at the station of Gael, France. The 138th train reportedly had had mechanical difficulties in the trip up to that point.   Headquarters Company of the 138th occupied the last six cars of the train — the compartment and three box.  All six cars were completely demolished.  Other accounts report that 14 train cars were “telescoped” in the event. There are many conflicting accounts of the incident published in newspapers at various times with variation in the numbers of injured and dead and even the location of the wreck. The location had also been reported in newspapers as: Gale, St. Main, St. Mein and Mellistroit.

The men who were killed in the wreck were buried October 28th, in the U. S. Government cemetery No. 18 at Camp Coetquidan, France. Many were returned home in the years following the war. Moss was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in section 18, site 284 on 23 August 1920.

The other members of the Kentucky National Guard Killed in the incident are: William E. Aubrey; Buford G. Craig; Norbert V. Henry; Charles B. Lucas; Walter C Neagle; Roy V. Ogle; Ralph Rose; James N. Tucker and Garland W. Wells.


The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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