Raymond Dales Wortley – Captain, United States Army

E-Mail: 3 August 2003:

I am looking for Raymond Wortley who died in France between 4-6 October 1918. He was first buried at the American E-F Cemetery No. 557 Brizeaux Meuse, France. I have a letter my grandmother wrote which tells of Raymond being buried at Arlington and her mother and sister attending the service.

Thank you, Janice Buchanan great niece of Raymond

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At 5: 25 A. M. October 4, 1918 the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, jumped off behind a rolling barrage from a line just in front of SERIEUX Ferme and Cote 231. The First Battalion was the assault battalion, the Second Battalion supported the First and the Third followed as Divisional Reserve. Preceding H hour the regimental P. C. had moved up immediately in rear of the jumping off line. The attack started in a dense fog, and while it was still dark. The German artillery fire in answer to our barrage was heavy but it caught the support and reserve battalions. Some slight confusion resulted in the assault battalion, and after the high ground 2 kilometers in front of the jumping off line had been taken, the Regimental Commander ordered the battalion to halt and reorganize, and simultaneously the Second Battalion leap frogged and continued the assault. The P. C. moved up beyond SERIEUX Ferme.The assault and capture of the heights and a small strip of woods on a line with and 700 meters east of La NEUVILLE Le COMTE Ferme was the work of the entire fighting day. The ground lent itself perfectly to machine gun defense. Large machine gun emplacements, heavily timbered and overgrown with moss and shrubbery, skirted the edge of the woods. To add to the difficulty the unit to the right had not advanced. As a consequence, the assault and support battalion were exposed to a withering fire, not only from the commanding ground in front, but from the right flank and from La NEUVILLE Le COMTE and BEAUREGARD farms until both of the latter were reduced by the 28th Infantry on our left. The casualties were heavy. Few prisoners were taken, the enemy showing the general disposition to fight to the last. In the small wood which so long held up our advance there was some lively hand to hand fighting. The method of attack under these circumstances was of necessity slow. By careful infiltration and the use of all auxiliary weapons, Stokes, 37’s and V. B’s, our troops finally succeeded in clearing the enemy from the high ground and driving them from the small woods. The end of the day found us dug in on the high ground to the west of the woods.

The toll had been heavy. Captain Raymond Wortley, commanding the 2nd Battalion, fell mortally wounded at the head of his battalion just a few hours after the attack started. Captain Hamilton K. Foster and Lieutenant Harry Dillon were both killed leading their companies in the advance across the EXERMONT Valley. All honor to these brave soldiers who gave their best and their all.

Courtesy of Janice Buchanan:

Raymond Dales Wortley
Birth: December 13, 1891 at Paola, Miami County Kansas
Death: October 6, 1918, France

Cause of Death: Shot by machine gun through the lungs while leading the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Division.
Organization (Company & Regiment: Company Commander, Company A  and H 26th Infantry,  1st Division.

Decorations or Citations: Cited for gallantry in action and for his brilliant leadership of his battalion. (Citation Order No. 5, A.E.F). Raymond Wortley was the idol, and companion of his grandfather who was a Lieutenant in the Civil War. When his grandfather was buried at the old soldiers' home, young Wortley was imbued with all absorbing aspiration of a military career. At the age of 11 years he was confronted with the responsibility with his widowed mother in the support of a family of five children.

At the age of 18 he joined Company A, 7th Regiment, California National Guard. His whole time and thought was devoted to military study and organization. He was active in organizing the 7th Regiment Machine Gun Company, and received a commission as Lieutenant.

In August 1915 he resigned from the National Guard and joined the regular army as a Private. One year later he received commission as Second Lieutenant and at the officers school at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas he was recommended as First Lieutenant. He was assigned acting Captain in Pershing's Division and soon received a commission as Captain. He was wounded twice. Last word received from him, about 2 months ago was that he was serving as Major.

Courtesy of Janice Buchanan:

Raymond Dales WORTLEY
Sex: Male
Birthdate: 13 December 1891
Birthplace: Paola, Miami County, Kansas
Death date: Between 4 – 6 October 1918
Place of death: The Argonne, France
Spouse's name: none

From unknown Chaplain page 13 typewritten letter to Bonnie Grace Young Wortley Brown, mother of Captain Raymond

I borrowed one from one of the Sergeants for him. We had one hot meal together in those last days. On the night of the third the soup kitchens drew up into the valley behind us and I got hold of a cup of coffee and a tin of beans for the Captain. All these little services are precious in my memory.

In the morning of the 4th while his battalion he went forward. His beloved H Company caught it, at the very start. Lieutenant Sands who had succeeded him in command was killed in less than one hundred yards. It did not have an officer left inside of an hour or two. With the Captain I could not stay. My duties were everywhere. But word was brought to me, and I was not surprised. I had known before. As soon as I could I went to the aid station where he had been taken, and injured. They told me he had talked almost incessantly; incoherently, but in a way so that they knew that he was trying to give directions. And I remembered his words in the woods near St. Albans, “To command and command right: was his ideal. He lived his ideal to the end.

Madame, in your letter you spoke of  your son with noble words. He would be a wonderful man who could live up to your description. Let me quote. “He was always, as you knew him, living a beautiful, unselfish life for others. Clean and wholesome, pure minded, every thing a true man should be.” Many, and many a mother has talked to me thus of their sons, and alas too often I have had to listen in silence or answer evasively, for I've known that their mothers' hearts
their hopes had not been realized in their sons' lives. But permit me madame as one who lived close to your son in hours of temptation and trial to state that what you thought him to be, he was. I mourn him as one of the noblest men I ever knew.

In bringing this long letter to a close I only hope I have not been tedious. But for nearly two years I longed to tell you

these things.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/06/1918

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