WWI: 1st Lieutenant John P. Childe
Posted On: 05/31/2017 - 2:45pm, Posted By: David Conzett, Curator of History Objects & Fine Art
April 6, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. Every other Wednesday, we will present items from our collections that highlight life in Cincinnati, around the nation and from the battlefields during the war.
John P. Childe (1893-1983) grew up in the Wyoming neighborhood of Cincinnati. He was a student at the University of Wisconsin when the US entered World War I. He enlisted in the Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and was assigned to the 77th Division and stationed at Camp Upton, New York as a 2nd Lieutenant. In September 1918 he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant with the 306th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces. Childe shipped off to France and was involved in the Oise-Aisne, St. Mihel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. While there he applied for and did initial training to be an aerial observer. Feeling he was more useful at the front he returned to his infantry unit.
Childe’s letters to his parents describe the French countryside and the people he met. As with many soldiers’ letters home he avoided unpleasant topics and focused on the positives. Childe also preserved sixty-six army manuals produced during World War I, three of which are displayed here.
1st Lieutenant John Childe’s U.S. Army M1917 uniform, helmet, documents, letters and photos are part of the Cincinnati Museum Center’s permanent collections.
Prior to enlisting in 1917 Childe married Kathryn Erikson (1897-2000) and had two children. After the war he established the Childe Oil Company and was active in veteran groups. Childe was the Ohio Commander of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States in 1947 and 1948. John P. Childe is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.