|Birth: ||Dec. 30, 1884|
|Death: ||Oct. 9, 1918, France|
A son of Major Holmes Conrad, Robert Young Conrad was born in Winchester, Virginia, on Dec. 30, 1884. He was named for his grandfather.
Class of 1905, Virginia Military Institute; Class of 1910, University of Virginia law school; became a partner in the law office of his father.
On June 19, 1916, Conrad was called-up as a captain in the Virginia National Guard, and went to the Border with the Second Virginia Regiment, and was stationed at Brownsville, Tex., for eight months. The Second Virginia was mustered out of Service in February, 1917, but was called into Federal Service again in a few weeks. Captain Conrad, as commanding officer of Company "L," then did guard duty on the Southern and Norfolk and Western Railroads for five months, after which the Second Virginia was ordered to Camp McClellan, Anniston, Ala., and there became a part of the Twenty-ninth, or "Blue and Gray" Division. After nine months' training, the regiment sailed for France, June 15, 1918.
He was wounded on the Verdun front Oct. 8, 1918, and died the next day. Posthumously, Conrad was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism in action near Samogreux, France, on Oct. 8, 1918," according to archive information. Although Conrad was buried at Verdun.
From the Washington Post 10/10/1920:
Honor Capt. Conrad's Memory
Special to The Washington Post.
Winchester, Va., Oct. 8. - Services in memory of Capt. Robert Y. Conrad, the only commissioned officer from Winchester killed in the world war, were held yesterday in Mount Hebron Cemetery by officers and members of Company I, First Virginia regiment, known locally as "Capt. Bob's" company. Capt. Conrad was mortally wooded October 8, 1918, while leading his men at Malbrouck Hill. Taps was sounded by the company bugler at the foundation of a monument to be erected in the cemetery in memory of Capt. Conrad.
[Letters from two of his Lieutenants:!
"Captain Greenlee D. Letcher, Battery 'F,' 111th F. A., A. E. F.
"At your request, it gives me pleasure to write of my C. O., Captain Robert Y. Conrad, Co. 'I,' 116th Inf., A. E. F. I was one of his Second Lieutenants, and was from Newark, N. J., of the 'Blue and Gray' Division.
I either served immediately under him, or with him. in the 116th Infantry, from May 1, 1918, and I knew him well, and admired him greatly. A fine big fellow, and every inch a man and a soldier. Loved by all his men who expressed their confidence in him by saying they would follow him through Hell, and they would, and they did.
"In the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Captain Conrad's Company was in the thick of it, being assaulting Company, the first day. "Captain Conrad was shot through the head, leading his men, on the morning of October 8, 1918, between nine and ten o'clock, at the Enemy's third line trenches.
"In the violence of their assault, they (his Company) had swept beyond the objective set for them, and, at the third line trench, met a murderous machine-gun fire, and Captain Conrad fell mortally wounded.
"His men gave him first aid, and German prisoners (captured by his Company) carried him to the rear.
"Private I. AUemange of his Company told me that tlie Captain urged his men to go forward, saying: 'Don't bother with me. Go ahead!' He died the same day at Gloneux, in sight of Verdun, to the South-west.
"He was shot in the Bois Brabant-Sur-Meuse. I write these details as they were given to me. I was at the time on Detached Service at Grondue Courts. With this letter I give you a photograph of Captain Conrad's grave, made by me on the 24th of March. And I also give you the negative, as you desire to have an enlargement made, to present to the V. M. I. where Captain Conrad received his military education. The School should be proud of him, and it is a pleasure to me to write this remembrance of my Captain Conrad.
Harky a. Douglass,
2nd Lt., 116th Inf., 29th Div.'"
"Our Captain, Robert Young Conrad, commanding Company I, 116th Infantry, a man's man, beloved by all who knew him! Time after time, his men spoke of him, saying they would follow him through Hell. With his face to the foe, he fell upon the Field of Honour, mortally wounded, while leading his men forward toward the Enenay's third line trenches, the morning of the 8th of October, 1918. His Company was the assaulting Company, on the right. As the hour approached, he was among his men speaking words
"At the first gun, the shrill blast of his whistle started the men forward across 'No Man's Land' toward the German lines. He was like a boy at a picnic, going hither and thither, encouraging here and driving there. On and on he led them, until the objective was almost reached when a murderous stream of machine-gun fire from the Bois-Brabant-Sur-Meuse temporarily haulted his men. Undaunted, fearless, he passed among them; gathering them together, he led them forward, until he fell mortally wounded. Hurriedly, he was evacuated to the rear by German prisoners captured by his men, and a noble effort was made to save his life.
The Supreme Sacrifice was made, and an American Hero sleeps on the sunny fields of France.
Harold R. Dinges,
1st Lt., Co. 'I,' 116th Infantry."
His young wife wrote:
''It makes me so happy to hear of his beautiful deeds; he was always helping some one and mostly by the example of his happy, trustful nature. His mother sent me the last three letters he wrote her, and in one of them he says: 'All old people will have me for a friend forever. I never saw one that I remember who couldn't teach me something, and very, very few were not very kind and very generous.' Isn't it strange that he should write that, just as you tell me about his stand for General Shipp?
"He only taught me 'the glory of the trenches,' and, so, that is all I have ever been able to see, and I know he is content."
The "Distinguished Service Cross" was awarded to him, posthumously, by direction of the President, tb rough the Commanding General, A. E. F., with the Citation as follows:
"Robert Y. Conrad, Captain. 116th Infantry.
"For extraordinary heroism in action near Samogneux, France, October 8, 1918.
"Captain Conrad led his Company in assault, capturing many prisoners and machine-guns. He continually inspired h's men by utter disregard of danger, and was mortally wounded, while leading a charge on a machine-gun nest."
A daughter was born to Captain and Mrs. Conrad, after his death, and has been named for her father, and will be called "Robbie."
"Robert Young Conrad, Captain, Co. 'I,' 116th Infantry, killed in action October 8, 1918.
"They tell me with solemn pride that you have fallen on the field of battle, that you are counted among those countless thousands who have died to make men free. When you took your place in that Valhalla where the heroes are, the bells were tolled, and a gold star shines to you In perpetual remembrance. I know that you are dead; and, yet, across that twilight land, between the land of the real and the shadowy realm of souls, your Spirit comes, and seems to hover near me. and I who loved you as a brother can hear your voice across the chasm of Eternity. You were fashioned by your Creator to bo a Soldier. He gave to you a strong and virile body; He made you quick of mind and eye; He set the seal of valour in your heart, and dowered your soul with th,e nobility of high courage; He breathed into your being a spirit that the fiery test of War was powerless to break; and He held before your eyes the shining vision that Crusaders see.
"Your hour of glory came upon a battlefield in France; and when you fell, you stood face to face with the Enemy of Mankind, with your devoted men behind you.
"You made the Supreme Sacrifice within a few short weeks of that wonderful day when Peace burst upon the World like a dazzling light from Heaven; when the thunder of the guns was heard no more; when men no longer killed on land and sea and in the air; when the world was purged at last of that unspeakable monster that sought to destroy mankind. Your ears could not hear the mighty acclaim that rose from earth to Heaven; your heart could not feel the wild joy that filled men's souls. But your blood was shed, so that thej blessed boon of peace might come to restore and purify a distracted world, and you did not die in vain. With your life all you had to give you helped put out the fires of Hell, and mothers of men and little children, will bless your name forever
"Wearing the uniform upon which you brought such signal honour, you sleep somewhere in the soil of France; and the spot where you lie is enshrined in imperishable glory. High up in Heaven, your heroic soul takes its place among those who fought and died for faith and Country; the flag you defended with your life gains added lustre because of your deed; and your name is written in luminous letters upon the scroll of the Natlon's Immortal Dead.
D. B. C."
"Life brought him joy his brief years through,
And love and hope beside him kept;
Then, like a cry the bugles blew.
And straight his answer leapt.
"At the first throbbing drum he turned,
His face set for the long, long quest;
The spirit of his fathers burned,
A white star, in his breast.
"Sweet are the dreams of Peace and Youth,
But when the skies grew black with strife
He counted comfort less than truth,
And honour more than life.
"Death waited in the smoking ways.
But he he would not be denied.
What can we speak but perfect praise?
What can we know but pride?
"So young, so strong, so gladly giving!
Life loved him from his earliest breath;
Yet, there are gladder things than living,
And sadder things than death.
"The Golden Years will write his story,
And men shall mark the way he trod
Who gave his manhood in its glory,
For Freedom, and for God. N. B. T."
Holmes Young Conrad (1840 - 1915)
Robert Young Conrad Kirkland (1919 - 1965)*
Elisabeth Whiting Conrad Smith (1868 - 1915)*
Carter Bryan Conrad (1871 - 1959)*
Holmes Conrad (1878 - 1934)*
Augusta Forman Conrad (1880 - 1972)*
Robert Young Conrad (1884 - 1918)
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial
Departement de la Meuse
Maintained by: Cenantua
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55991508
I Company 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division|
Added: Nov. 25, 2015
VMI class of 1905. "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."|
Added: Jul. 30, 2006