|Robert James Sabiston was
born September 2, 1895 in
Woodlawn Alabama. According
to the WW1 Draft registration
card he filled out in 1917 he was:
single, of medium build, had
black hair and was living at
home on 301 North 49th Street.
Robert worked as a supply clerk
at the Sloss-Sheffield
Steel and Iron Company in
Dec 30, 1918
|Corporal Sabiston is buried at St. Mihiel
American Cemetery in Thiaucourt,
Pictured left is the letter his mother
received telling her of how and when her
son had died and where he had been
In 1930 Stella Sabiston went to France to
visit her son's grave. She is listed in the
WW1 Mother's Pilgramage that departed
from Cherbourg France aboard the SS
President Harding on September 16, 1930.
|"IL DORT LOIN DES SIENS DANS LA DOUCE TERRE DE FRANCE"
|Translation: He sleeps far from his family in the gentle land of France.
Corporal, U. S. Army, Co. B 11th Infantry
|According to Wikipedia:
"On 24 April 1918, the regiment sailed for France. By May of 1918 it
joined the 5th Division near Chaumont, France. The 11th then took part
in the Vosges Mountains, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne offensives."
For more information on this offensive (and a very comprehensive
WW1 website) click HERE
The St Mihiel salient covers the territory from Les Eparges to Pont a
Mousson and had been held by the Germans since September 1914.
The Germans had anticipated the attack and started an initial withdrawal.
This withdrawal was still in progress on 12th September when the
Americans started the attack with a 3,000 gun barrage and 300,000
soldiers. A secondary assault, by 110,000 French troops, took place three
hours later. Over 1,400 aircraft under the command of General William
Mitchell supported the advancing US and French troops. On the first day
the main attack advanced 9km to reach Thiancourt and the French
troops captured the village of Dommartin. By 16th of September the
entire St Mihiel salient was under control of the Allies.
- From the "Your Archives" website
During this 4 day offensive, Robert was one of the 7,000 Americans
either wounded or killed. He had just turned 23.
According to a short biography written about him by his mother Stella in
1922, Robert had volunteered for service hoping to work his way up in
the ranks. In the fall of 1917 he was promoted to Private First Class and
the next Spring he was made Corporal. She wrote he fought in three
battles but was mortally wounded by machine gun fire in the third as he
went over the top. He was taken to Evacuation Hospital #1 where he
later died. The nurses at the hospital said he called out "Mother" three
times just before he passed away.
Stella lovingly continued: "Robert James was unmarried, Our Hero Our only precious son, we gave our
all to bring peace and happiness to our country. I have received memoirs from the French Governor,
President Wilson, John J. Pershing Commander and Chief, and J. Erwin Adjutant General, but that
does not relieve the aching heart or fill the vacant place in our home but we are so proud of his nobility
and Heroism and we will meet again in that upper and better world."
Robert graduated Gibson Grammar School in Woodlawn in 1912 and then went on to Birmingham High
School graduating in 1916. A hard worker, he would find employment with different lawyers during
school breaks and vacations. He was preparing for college when he decided to volunteer for Service.