The Life of John H Hoch

HE LEFT HIS HOME IN PERFECT HEALTH HE LOOKED SO YOUNG AND BRAVE. WE LITTLE THOUGHT HOW SOON HE'D BE LAID IN A SOLDERS'S GRAVE. K.I.A. (FRANCE) Buried where died *HONORS-Memoral* PVT. 108 M.G. Bat. WW I HOCH-BALTHASER, LEGION NAMED IN HIS HONOR Kutztown Patriot Oct. 24, 1918 REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN KILLED In a letter written by John H. Hoch in service in France, to one of his friends in town, which was received on Tuesday evening, was enclosed a slip written by the captain, informing them that he was killed in action on September 5, 1918 and that he had just returned to his company after recovering from wounds in a hospital. At the time of this writing his parents had received no official notice of his death and they are at odds as to what they are to believe. The presumption is, however that probably the captain had found this unmailed letter in the young hero’s cloths and mailed it at once, and that probably the official notice had not, as yet, reached Washington. Mrs. Hoch received a letter from Duncan D. Haagland, a Y. M. C. A. man, who returned to this country, and in it he said that he saw her son in a hospital, and that he was recovering rapidly. John H. Hoch enlisted with the National Guards of Hamburg and has been overseas some time. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Hoch, of East Walnut Street. He has a brother, Harry at Camp Meade, Md.

Kutztown Patriot; January 2, 1919 DIED A HERO’S DEATH John H. Hoch is Buried Where He Fell Charging the Enemy---Concise Account given by First Lieutenant of his Company. There was some doubt regarding the death of John H. Hoch, one of our soldiers “over there,” which had been reported in a casualty list. In order to make sure whether she might entertain some hope that her dear son would come back to her someday, he grief-stricken mother, Mrs. John A. Hoch, on East Walnut Street, this town, set about to make a thorough investigation. She wrote to the War Department, at Washington, and received the answer that the department was not in a position to either confirm or deny the report, having no definite information on the subject. The department advised her, however, to write to France direct and obtain the desired information from the officers of the son’s company. This was done and here is the answer, which was at once cutting and inspiring for a patriotic mother’s bleeding heart:

The Answer from France American Expeditionary Force, France, Nov. 30, 1918 Mrs. John A. Hoch, Kutztown, Pa. In answer to your letter of November 11th to the commanding officer of Co. A. 108th M. G. Bn., relative to your son, John H. Hoch, would say it is with the deepest regret that I have to confirm the statement of his death. Your son was killed in action on September 5th, about 10:30 a. m. The company had crossed the Vesle River and was attacking the enemy on the hills to the north. The platoon to which he was attached was going into position under violent shell fire and consistent sniping from enemy machine guns. He was buried on the hillside overlooking the village of Vallette. Private Hoch was a soldier of rare courage, which he displayed at all times, and his death was a loss to this command and a hard blow to his comrades. Sincerely, R. A. KINTER, First Lieut. Commander Co. A. 108th M.G. Bn.

His Last Letter Home The following is the last letter the mother received from her son in France: September 2, 1918 My Dear Mother;----I have just received your letter of the 17th of August and indeed was glad to hear from you. I am back with the company again and am coming along as fine as ever. I suppose you are reading in the papers what we are doing daily. I cannot tell you anything about what we are doing. But everything is moving along fine, so please mother, do not worry about me, as you know I got over hear voluntarily and am indeed glad that I am where I am. One of these fine days I will come home again and tell you all about the experiences we have had. Is brother Harry over here? If he is, let me know, as I did not here about him since I am over here. Will close, as it is getting dark and late. Good-bye to all of you. Good luck and best wishes, from your son somewhere in France. PVT. JOHN H. HOCH Co. C, 108th M. G. Bn., A. E. F.

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