Donald F. Duncan – Captain, United States Marine Corps

The capture of Bouresches (The Battle of Belleau Wood) the key event in the battle, was never actually part of the official plan. It was after all behind the woods, which were the main target. But it seemed like a good idea to Captain Donald F. Duncan when he saw the rest of his battalion pinned down at the wood’s edge.

Duncan was killed in the assault, on 6 June 1918, but his successor, Lieutenant James F. Robertson, led the surviving 50% of the company into the town. When he left for reinforcements his successor Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates (a Tennessee law graduate) realized that the town was being defended by only 21 marines.

Captain Duncan was subsequently returned to the United States where he was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Press Report Of June 16, 1918:

Captain Donald F. Duncan of the Marine Corps, killed in action on 6 June 1918, was a native of Missouri, 31 years old, who entered the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant in 1914. He was due for promotion to Major in the next few weeks.  He was on duty in Guam when Congress declared war last April and was immediately recalled to the United States for service overseas.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/06/1918


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