Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: John

Last Name: Wickersham

Birthplace: New York, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Denver, CO
Middle Name: Hunter

Date of Birth: 03 February 1890

Date of Death: 12 September 1918

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served:
John Hunter Wickersham

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


John Hunter Wickersham

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Second Lieutenant John Hunter Wickersham (3 February 1890 - 12 September 1918) was a U.S. Army officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War I.

John Hunter Wickersham was born on 3 February 1890 in New York City to Mary E. Damon. He joined the Army from Denver, CO, and on 11 September 1918, was serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 353rd Infantry Regiment, 89th Division in France. As his unit prepared to take part in an offensive that day that would become the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Wickersham wrote one last letter home to his mother in Denver. The letter contained a poem, "The Raindrops on Your Old Tin Hat," which was later published.

The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,
  There's a whispering of wind across the flat,
You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing-
  The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you can't help a-figuring-sitting there alone-
  About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,
  While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit
  You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do-
And you don't take time to figure what you gain or lose-
  It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
  And every night she offers up a prayer
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe-
  The Mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great, big ugly war,
  And her prayer is on the wind across the flat,
And don't you reckon maybe it's her tears, and not the rain,
  That's keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

The next day, 12 September, Wickersham was severely wounded near Limey, France, but continued to lead his platoon in its advance until he collapsed and succumbed to his injuries. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 353rd Infantry, 89th Division.

Place and date: Near Limey, France, 12 September 1918.

Citation: Advancing with his platoon during the St. Mihiel offensive, he was severely wounded in 4 places by the bursting of a high-explosive shell. Before receiving any aid for himself he dressed the wounds of his orderly, who was wounded at the same time. He then ordered and accompanied the further advance of his platoon, although weakened by the loss of blood. His right hand and arm being disabled by wounds, he continued to fire his revolver with his left hand until, exhausted by loss of blood, he fell and died from his wounds before aid could be administered.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Croce di Guerra (Italy)

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant John Hunter Wickersham was killed in action on 12 September 1918. He is buried at the St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France, in Plot B, Row 19, Grave 12.

A marker in his memory was placed at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, CO.


Honoree ID: 1842   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image