|Birth: ||Dec. 22, 1900|
|Death: ||Oct. 6, 1918, France|
Killed in action World War I - Exermont, Argonne Forest, France. Private William Weems Allein, 26th Inf. Hdqrs. Co. 1st Div.
Following is excerpted (with permission of the author) from a presentation made at the Mississippi American Legion Post #3 on the occasion of the Legion’s 98th birthday (March 2017).
The American Legion was formed on March 16, 1919, in France by members of the American Expeditionary Forces. It was incorporated by Congress on September 16, 1919, as “a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.”
Having been chartered on July 2, 1919 as Post #3, we are the oldest active Legion Post in Mississippi. (Post #1 in each state is the State post.) In 1920, the first officers chose to name our Post after the Allein brothers, Henry and William: two brothers, from the same hometown, killed in the same war, days apart.
The Allein family came from colonial Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Mary Allein, who was born in 1782, accompanied her son, Thomas and his wife Mary Precilla to Church Hill, Jefferson County. In a letter dated 1844, Thomas gives the details of his wife’s death and quotes her as having said “I have four on Earth and four in Heaven.” One of those living children at the time of her death was William Weems Allein, born in 1828 in Maryland. He and his wife, Anna B. Hendren, moved to Vicksburg before the Civil War. William and Anna had at least 7 children, one of whom was Thomas Hendren Allein, Sr., who was born in 1856. He married Francis Cook.
They had five sons, Thomas Jr., born in 1892; Henry Cook Allein, born in 1897; Francis Cook Allein, born in 1898; William Weems Allein, known as Billy, who was born in 1900, and Irwin Boush Allein, born in 1903.
When Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated (along with his wife Sophie) in Sarajevo by a member of a Serbian assassination team on June 28, 1914,this situation precipitated World War I. In 1914, Henry Allein was 18, and William was 13. It would be three more years until the United States entered The Great War. The American Expeditionary Force and Allies had many victories, each of greater consequence to the Allied cause. The final Battle was in a rugged zone along France’s northeastern border near the Meuse River, including the Argonne Forest. Meuse-Argonne was the greatest Allied victory of the war and is still the largest American battle ever fought. This offensive began September 26, 1918, and ended with the armistice, which was signed at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.
The younger Allein son, William, enlisted in the Army in November 1917, a month shy of his 17th birthday. The next Fall, on October 6, 1918, 11 days into the Meuse-Argonne battle, Private First Class Allein was in combat with a ground artillery crew of the 5th Field Artillery in a hilly, densely wooded area of eastern France called the Argonne Forest.
As Chaplain Oliver J. Stuart of the Fifth Field Artillery wrote to Allein’s parents, Thomas and Francis, on January 9, 1919, “He was one of a crew of gunners who were trying to shell out a machine-gun nest on the opposite slope and drew retaliatory gunfire in return. All agree that they were firing from a relatively exposed position. He was killed instantly by a bursting shell, which also severely wounded Cpl. Francis of the same gun-crew, which was operating the one-pounder. Fragments of the shell got him in the head and breast, so he probably never knew anything had hit him.”
William was 3 months shy of his 18th birthday.
Henry Allein had been drafted into the service in April 1918, at 21. He became a pilot with the 28th Aero Squadron, 3d Pursuit Group, American Expeditionary Force. This war was the first major conflict in which aircraft, first successfully flown just 15 years earlier, were used. The French bi-plane, Spad XIII, which Allein and those in his unit flew was, a heavy, strong little plane. Pursuit squadrons were assigned to defend Allied airspace, preventing enemy aircraft from entering and seeing ground units.
On October 27, 1918, Henry was shot in the body in a dogfight with a German plane and was further injured in a crash while attempting to make an emergency landing on a U.S. landing field. He did not survive.
Eugene Hardy, who after the war was a farmer in Lowndes County, blamed himself for Henry’s death. In a letter to Henry’s family in 1919, he wrote, “Perhaps this might have been different had I not been sent to the hospital with pneumonia as we were in the same flight and always tried to watch out for each other in an attack.”
Henry Allein, still just 21, was killed in the second month of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, and just 16 days after William was killed.
The monument in the Vicksburg Rose Garden depicts a sailor, William T. Gifford, the first Warren County man killed in the war when a German torpedo sank the USS Jacob Jones on December 6, 1917; Vicksburg’s VFW Post 2572 is named for him. The soldier represents William Allein, and the plane on the monument represents Henry Allein’s Spad XIII.
There are 13 Alleins buried at Church Hill Episcopal Churchyard and 13 Alleins in Cedar Hill. We honor the memory and sacrifice of their descendants, Henry and William, each time we say the name of our Post……………………..“American Legion Allein Post #3”
Thomas Hendren Allein (1856 - 1932)
Frances Cook Allein (1862 - 1939)
Thomas Hendren Allein (1892 - 1936)*
Henry Cook Allein (1897 - 1918)*
Francis Cook Allein (1898 - 1962)*
William Weems Allein (1900 - 1918)
Irwin Boush Allein (1903 - 1966)*
Cedar Hill Cemetery
Created by: Margaret Allein Dyas
Record added: Aug 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95327582