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Record 434/678
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Admin/Biog History Rolland S. Retelle was born in Manistee, MI on March 30, 1895, the son of Albert Retelle. The family moved to Oshkosh circa 1896 and he graduated from Oshkosh High School and the Business College. He worked as a stenographer for the Oshkosh District Attorney D. K. Allen. He was drafted July 18, 1918 and trained at Camp Hancock, Georgia. He shipped out for France September 25, 1918. He was hospitalized with pneumonia on October 5, 1918 and died October 15, 1918 in Brest, France. He was burried in the American Cemetery, Lambezellec, Finisters, France and reburried at Riverside Cemetery in Lot 4, Block 5.
Collection World War I Small Collections
Dates of Accumulation 1919
Abstract Letter to Albert Retelle from Mary C. Frost, American Red Cross, with information concerning the final moments of their son's life, details of the funeral, and the location of the grave of Rolland S. Retelle, Machine Gun Company Replacement Depot, in the American Cemetery, Lambezellec, Finisters, France.

Rolland S. Retelle, Pvt., 3370228
6th M.G. Co., Camp Hancock S.A.R.D.

Office of Assistant Manager
Western Zone
38, Rue du Chateau
January 31, 1919

Mr. And Mrs. B.J. Retelle,
390 High St., Oshkosh, Wis.

My dear Mr. and Mrs. Retelle:
It is with sorrow that I write you of the illness and death of your son, Pvt. Rolland S. Retelle. As representative of the Home Communication Service of the American Red Cross, and for myself personally, I send my sympathy to all who loved him.

On October 5 your son entered the hospital ill with pneumonia. His condition was serious from the first and I assure you that his doctors and nurses gave him every care. I talked with him for a few moments one day and found him in good spirits, cheery, plucky and brave, and I think because of these qualities and all his other lovable characteristics, that he had even more than the usual devoted attention. Long before this you must have received the letter which he dictated. I wish that I might have followed it with a cheering one but that was not to be. Your son grew weaker hourly, and in spite of all that could be done the end came October 15. I would give much were it possible for me to lessen in the least the burden which you must bear, but hope that the knowledge that he realized that he was among friends who ministered to him tenderly and skillfully, and who send their sympathy, may be of comfort to you.

In the A.E.F. cemetery at Lambezellec where many of our lads lie your son was buried after the dignified military service conducted by Chaplain Yates. At this, an American Red Cross woman represented the family. The escort stood at attention beside the flag-draped casket while taps sounded, then your soldier was left to his rest on the hillside overlooking the city of Brest and the sea beyond. His grave is marked with a white cross bearing his name, age, organization, and date of death. It will be cared for by French women who keep flowers on all the graves, and by our own people, for the location of the grave is recorded by the Graves Registration Bureau. Private Retelle has given his life in the service of his country and has won for himself a place among her honored sons.

Again I send you my thoughts of sympathy. If I can ever be of service to you please let me know.
Very sincerely yours,
Mary C. Frost
Event World War I
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID SC411.10.9.4
Object Name Letter
People Retelle, Rolland S.
Subjects World War I
Death & burial
Funeral rites & ceremonies
Military hospitals
Military medicine
American Red Cross
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009