2LT George Merrick Hollister

2LT George Merrick Hollister

Birth
Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA
Death 13 Oct 1918 (aged 22)
France
Burial Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Departement de la Meuse, Lorraine, France
Plot Plot B Row 44 Grave 24
Memorial ID 55960909 · View Source
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Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Son of Clay Harvey and Justina Merrick Hollister.

Educated Middlesex School and Harvard University, Class of 1918. Joined American Field Service, February 25, 1916; attached Section Three in France and Balkans to May 9, 1917. Croix de Guerre.

Returned to America. Army Service School, July. U. S. Infantry, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, November. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, February 25, 1918; attached 61st Infantry, Camp Greene, North Carolina.

Sailed for Brest, April 15, 1918. Attached 137th French Division, to August; Battalion Scout Officer, 61st Regiment.

Killed by shell, October 12, 1918, in action east of Cunel, at Bois-de-Forêt, and buried there. Cited, 5th U. S. Division. Body transferred to Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse.



"IN him I seem to see my dearest ideals realized. What strength and vision, what health and vigor of mind and body his genuineness a constant spur to those near him . . . ." These words which to us so well describe George Merrick Hollister, he wrote of his young brother. They express something of what he felt a youth should be, and as accurately, although he could not know it, the feeling which his many friends had for him. Though visioning deeply he never preached; his conduct bespoke the stalwartness of the high personal ideals he held. He was modest and unselfish, withal the most humanly alive person imaginable. His was the simplicity, the lack of all pretense, which is the heritage of great souls. He saw nothing of beauty or heroism in his own manner of facing actualities, but the example of his life and death has left us a guide to cherish forever.

In 1908 George came east from Michigan a frail, lonely lad, but eight years later was at Harvard, strong in body, rich in friendships, and having made an enviable success, when, in the middle of his sophomore year, he went quietly away to drive the Middlesex ambulance in the American Field Service. With veteran Section Three his youth and zest, his reliability and unfailing good humor made George both loved and admired.

Yet all he experienced impressed him deeply. "It is hard to say what the last two weeks have meant to me," he wrote after the first Battle of Verdun . ... . . . . to see all that is finest in life and all that is most damnable. . . Now, with it safely over, life takes on a new glorious splendor. I do not even try to explain to myself why my share seems done, probably it is not... " His share was not done; his future held yet much of service, of suffering, and of sacrifice.

After more than a year as a volunteer driver, George returned and secured a lieutenancy in America, going back to France with the 61st Infantry as Scout Officer, where, "the best known officer in the Brigade," he was loved and trusted as are few military leaders.

On October 13th in the woods near Cunel, having located some Boche positions under a raking fire, George was killed by a shell. Perhaps the words in all the tributes to his memory which he himself would most have cherished are those of his orderly, a Greek, Nickolas Gouzoulis, "good soldier and good citizen."

"He was my officer and wherever he would like to go, he had always use to take me with him for I was a sniper, also a confidential friend to him. George got severely wounded...he call me and I crawls over and sees him in bad condition. He don't last long for he died in my arms. I wish you will be more than proud, for you had a son with plenty of courage and nerve, in fact, he was one of the best officers I have ever seen since I have been in France."

Lieutenant Considine's story completes the picture of how George Hollister was beloved. "I had what was left of the Scouts George commanded, take both bodies to the southern edge of the wood and the exhausted men began to dig a grave. Ordered back, the last thing we did before leaving that shell-torn strip was to wrap the bodies of those two friends in blankets, and with bared heads and a prayer we buried them not far from where they fell. It was quite dark when we left after putting wild flowers over them, and the remnants of two companies with exhausted bodies and aching hearts left to their last rest two of the finest, coolest, and most courageous officers who ever faced and accepted death for our Flag."


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Gravesite Details Michigan

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  • Maintained by: Athanatos
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 5 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 55960909
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2LT George Merrick Hollister (23 Apr 1896–13 Oct 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55960909, citing Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Departement de la Meuse, Lorraine, France ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) .