PFC James Rexford Scowden

PFC James Rexford Scowden

Kinzua, Warren County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 29 Sep 1918 (aged 21)
Departement de l'Aisne, Picardie, France
Burial Bony, Departement de l'Aisne, Picardie, France
Plot B, Row 24, Grave 6
Memorial ID 26677137 View Source
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Shot Through Heart In The
Drive Which Broke The Hindenburg Line


Scowden Died Instantly And
Benson Suffered Amputation of Arm

Private James R. Scowden of Company I, 108th Infantry, was killed in action by a machine gun bullet in the drive which broke the Hindenburg line. He was hit in the heart in the morning of the last Sunday of September as he lay in a shell hole with Sergeant Hans A. Benson, who was wounded and afterwards lost his right arm through amputation.
Scowden and Benson were in a shell hole, waiting for the smoke barrage to lift so they could go forward. Suddenly, a German machine gun opened fire. Benson was hit by a dum-dum bullet in the shoulder and it followed down the arm, blowing the member to pieces.
At about the same time, Scowden was hit through the heart, dying instantly. Benson was in the shell hole with the body all day Sunday and all night Sunday night, while a cold rain fell. Olean boys were hit right and left, he wrote.
Scowden was formerly a trainman in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad. His home was in Colgrove Pa. He Joined Company I just before it went to the Mexican border. He spent the summer of 1916 on the border, and was later mustered in with the company when war with Germany was declared. He was trained with Company I in Camp Wadsworth, Spartenburg, S.C., last winter and went overseas in May.

Olean Evening Times - November 30, 1918

Born in Kinzua, Pa


Turned To Gold

I think the saddest day
That someone ever told
When someone tells a mother
That her blue star turned to gold.
Her head goes up so proudly
While her heart within her dies
She may be choked with sorrow
But she never cries.
She has waited for days on end
For the war to pass
When she could see her son again
And hold him close at last.
Now, the news has come
In words so bleak and cold
Which tells her what she fears;
Her blue star has turned to gold.
~Elbert Cooper~

James Rexford Scowden

Hans Benson


The World War I Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France is sited on a gentle slope typical of the open, rolling Picardie countryside. The 14.3-acre cemetery contains the graves of 1,844 of our military dead. Most lost their lives while serving in American units attached to British armies, or in operations near Cantigny. The headstones, set in regular rows, are separated into four plots by paths that intersect at the flagpole near the top of the slope. The longer axis leads to the chapel at the eastern end of the cemetery.

A massive bronze door surmounted by an American eagle leads into the chapel, whose outer walls contain sculptured pieces of military equipment. Once inside, light from a cross-shaped crystal window above the marble altar bathes the subdued interior with light. The walls bear the names of 333 of the missing. A rosette marks the name of the soldier listed on the Walls of the Missing that has since been recovered and identified.

Gravesite Details

New York