Pvt William (Will) Egle Jr, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Division, age 24, was KIA near Cierges, France on August 1, 1918, during the "Second Battle of Marne". His first cousin, Ralph William Egle, age 25, was KIA on the same day, August 1, 1943, during the "Battle of Ploesti", 25 years later. Ralph was born in Nov 1917 after his cousin, will, registered for the draft in June 1917.
The second "Battle of Marne" (northeast of Paris) was a great victory for the allied forces. It has been described as the "beginning of the end" of WWI. William died on August 1. By August 4th the Germans were in the retreat. William was buried in the US Cemetery near the battle site.
William (Will) Egle was the first man from Hitchcock County, Nebraska, to give his life for his country in WW I. When the American Legion Post #281 was organize Dec 20, 1920, it was named after William. William was the son of Jacob and Barbara Roth Egle of Stratton, Nebraska. Jacob Egle (1851-1930), William's father, was born at Riet, Germany east of Karlsrue, within 300 miles of where William was killed near Gierges, France. This is not far from where Will is buried at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetary. Plot B, Row 15, Grave 7.
William Egle Jr. died in France, within 200 miles of his father, Jacob Egle's birthplace in Germany. Jacob had been inducted into the Prussian Army following their invasion of France in 1871. WWI was fought along the same lines in France in 1943. Jacob's family came to the US so that his brothers, Christian and Williams, would be spared the same fate.
Later, Jacob was able to get a pass to attend a relative's wedding. It provided an opportunity for him to go AWOL and escape through France to join his family. Will's death must have been extremely difficult for his father Jacob Egle and his Uncle William Egle, Will's namesake. The Egles still had relatives in Germany and France, so WWI and WWII were tough times.
Honor and Remember Nebraska Chapter is pleased to present this flag, sponsored by Superior Honda to the family of pvt William Egle Jr.
2nd Battle of Marne Article