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WW1 DSC # 343

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Hello ,

I own ww1 DSC #343 . Could you help me to find the soldier who won it ?

In fact, I have a name given by the seller of this medal but I have no proof.

I know a book does exist with numbered DSC with names of owners and their citations. What is the title of this book ? Where to find it ?

As this is a small number, I presume this DSC was given in France during the war ?


Thanks a lot for your help !



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Gary Mitchell's numerical roll and index was published in 1989 by Planchet Press (i.e., Al Gleim). It was a 3-volume set titled "For Valor: Distinguished Service Cross Issues 1918-1925".


Tough to find in the secondary market, but out there.

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Thanks for your fast answers !

Jeff, you confirm the name I had when I bought the medal. In fact, I bought it because it is a 42nd Div DSC.

But could you give us your references please ?

In his book, the famous "Father Duffy" from the old 69th write that he receive his DSC with Williams ( and some others) near Toul in september 1918. These DSC were given this day by Gen.Pershing .

No problem for the pic, but not before beginning of next week as I am for business in Slovakia, Central Europe.

Thanks again.



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If you go to google books and google the title HEROES ALL you will find a book that lists the citations for all the men who were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during World War I, and it does have the citation for Lt. John J. Williams.

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While thinking to Pershing decorating the same day Williams, Father Duffy and maybe Donavan ( don't remember and I am far from my books), I wondering if the # of the DSC given during this day are successives OR if the numbers of the medals are following the date of soldier's official citations ?

Jeff, it would be nice if you can have a look on your book and look around #343 if you find Duffy, Donovan, or others 42nd Officers ? It can be a proof for my assumption.

thanks in advance !


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358 - William J. Donovan

362 - Francis P. Duffy


There are about a dozen DSCs to 165th Infantry between issue numbers 343 and 394.

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Thanks for the interesting post on your great find.. a numbered WWI DSC.

However, and this is not directed at you, but the system, another great USA valor medal ends up oversea. I am more jealous than anything. Thanks GREAT USA goverment.

Like others I would love to see the medal when you get a chance.


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Well Chris, it's difficult to answer to your post with my position.

The wheel turns , this DSC was found as an forgotten and anonymous item somewhere in the US.

I own it now, not far from the battlefields where Lt Williams won it on July 1918 and not far from the spot where he was decorated by Gen Pershing.

The day I 'll decide to sell it I presume it take the way of the US again... ( if the USD becomes stronger... think.gif )


ps: I' ve read somewhere that Canada vote a recent law to preserve its medals in the country no ?

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Steve Brannan

DSC Citation from page 419, "Heroes All":

"Williams, John J...........Second Lieutenant

165th Infantry. On July 28, 1918, nerar Villers-sur-Fere, France, when all the other officers of his company had been killed or wounded, he promptly took command, lead his men through artillery and machine gun fire, rushed a machine gun which blocking his advance, personally killed four members of its crew, gained his objective and held it. Home address. Mrs Lorraine Williams, 1300 Wisconsin St, Berlin, Wis"

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Hi, I'm not much of a WWI collector but I had this photo and dug it out. It shows General Pershing decorating officers and men of the 42nd Div. on Sept. 7, 1918 at BULLIGNEY, France. MacArthur is the officer on the left in the row. I don't know if your guy is in there but thought it related to this topic. Enjoy, Mark.


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as promised I am back to show pics of the medal.

Thanks for your photograph Mark, I presume Williams appears on this view, but where ?

Duffy write on his book:

"...and 7th september found us at Boucq, where we spent 2 days. Here we had the honor of a visit from the Commander in Chief. Gen Pershing had come on for the ceremony of presenting DSC to those who had been cited in our division, and the ceremony took place in a field to the northeast of our village of Boucq. The recipients from our regiment were Lt Col Donovan, Major Reilley, who quite overshadowed me, Captain Merle-Smith,Lt William Spencer, Lt John J.Williams,sergeant Franck Gardella, Corp John McLaughlin, Corp Martin Higgins and Burr Finkle...."


According this and from Mark's pic, we can recognize Duffy 7th from Left, so according text, Reilley 6th.

Its seems that the order of placing the recipients is by decreasing rank with McArthur first....

I don't manage to recognize Donovan.


Place to the DSC#343 :



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  • 7 months later...
Guest Censlenov
ps: I' ve read somewhere that Canada vote a recent law to preserve its medals in the country no ?


Not Quite true. They tried to get this into law by prohibiting the sale of medals even inside Canada, but thankfully it was squashed. It would have devistated the hobby here in Canada.


Anyway does anyone have an example of a named WW1 DSC Am i correct that the majority would have been issued unnamed and that if one were to find a named example to a non KIA it was most likely done privately after the war??


I have one comming to Canada from England and bought it off a text listing going by description alone along with his victory medal. I'm hoping its good and a good sign is the bars on the vic coincide with what his unit was entitled so Fingers crossed. Unfortunately the dealer didn't list any number on the edge but that doesn't mean there isn't one there. I can't wait till its in my hands to confirm.




Carl H. Ehlers, corporal, Company K, 364th Infantry. For extraordinary

heroism in action near Eclisfontaine, France, September 28, 1918. Responding

to a call for volunteers, Corpl. Ehlers, with five others, advanced 400 yards

beyond their front to bring in wounded comrades. They succeeded in rescuing

seven of their men, also in bringing in the dead body of a lieutenant, while

exposed to terrific machine-gun fire. Residence at enlistment: 231 Eye Street,

Sacramento, Calif.


Bars on the vic




Defensive Sector


Apparently the naming reads

Cpl. C. H. Ehlers

364th Inf.


Which leads me to believe its privately named.


Any thoughts?




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  • 11 months later...

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