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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Enright

Birthplace: Bloomfield, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Francis

Date of Birth: 08 May 1887

Date of Death: 03 November 1917

Rank: Private

Years Served:
Thomas Francis Enright

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Thomas Francis Enright
Private, U.S. Army

Thomas Francis Enright was born on 8 May 1887 inBloomfield, PA, the son of Irish immigrants.

Enright enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1909. In November 1917, Enright, Corporal James Bethel Gresham of Evansville, IN, and Private Merle David Hay of Glidden, IA, were all serving in Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) in France. On 3 November, they became the first Americans to die in combat during World War I when German troops trench raided their position near the village of Bathelémont les Bauzemont in the Lorraine (region), east of Nancy, France.

Two days later, Enright, Gresham, and Hay were buried near where they had died. Alfalfa soon sprouted on their gravesites and their relatives harvested it, incorporating it into a family bread recipe. This inscription marked their graves: "Here lie the first soldiers of the illustrious Republic of the United States who fell on French soil for justice and liberty."

Enright's remains were later returned to the U.S. and, on 16 July 1921, he was re-buried in Pittsburgh, PA, with military honors. That day began with his casket lying in state at Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial located in the City's Oakland section. It then was placed on a gun caisson drawn by six horses and taken to St. Paul Cathedral for a memorial Mass celebrated by Hugh Charles Boyle, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh.

From St. Paul's, a procession continued to St. Mary Cemetery in the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood. A wreath from General John J. Pershing was laid upon his grave.

Death and Burial

Thomas Francis Enright was killed in action on 3 November 1917 in France. He is buried at Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery in Lawrenceville, PA.

Honoree ID: 2472   Created by: MHOH




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