Bony is a village and commune approximately 21 kilometres north of St Quentin, close to the St Quentin Canal. The Somme American Cemetery is situated a kilometre south-west of the village on the Hargicourt road. The cemetery contains three Commonwealth war graves — 2 Royal Air Force Officers and 1 New Zealand soldier who fell in June—August 1918. The other British graves have been removed to Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile.
It contains 1830 graves, mainly of the American 27th, 30th, 1st, 33rd and 80th Divisions; and is particularly connected with the advance of the 27th and 30th Divisions, with the 3rd and 5th Australian, at the end of September 1918.
The cemetery covers an area of 14 acres and contains the graves of 1,844 American Servicemen.
At the entrance to the cemetery is a small chapel with a bronze door, surmounted by an American eagle. The walls commemorate the 333 Americans whose remains were never recovered or identified.
The cemetery is open daily to the public from 0900 hours to 1700 hours except on 25th December and 1st January.
It is open on French national holidays.
When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitors’ Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.
Amongst the graves you will find three Medal of Honor recipients. All three died fighting in the last couple of months of the war, Robert Blackwell of the 119th Infantry being killed on 11th October 1918.
Private Robert Blackwell
119th Infantry, 30th Division
Died near St. Souplet
on 11th October 1918.
Grave: D 20 02
When his platoon was almost surrounded by the enemy and his platoon commander asked for volunteers to carry a message calling for reinforcements, Pvt. Blackwell volunteered for this mission, well knowing the extreme danger connected with it. In attempting to get through the heavy shell and machine-gun fire this gallant soldier was killed.
Corporal Thomas O’Shea
Machine Gun Company
107th Infantry, 27th Division
Died near Le Catelet
on 29th September 1918.
Grave: B 6 14
Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Cpl. O’Shea, with two other soldiers [Sgt. Alan Eggers and Sgt. John Latham], took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy’s lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank under heavy fire from German machine guns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire-swept area Cpl. O’Shea was mortally wounded and died of his wounds shortly afterwards.
First Lieutenant William Turner
105th Infantry, 27th Division
Died near Ronssoy
on 27th September 1918
Grave: B 13 01
He led a small group of men to the attack, under terrific artillery and machine-gun fire, after they had become separated from the rest of the company in the darkness. Single-handed he rushed an enemy machine gun which had suddenly opened fire on his group and killed the crew with his pistol.
He then pressed forward to another machine-gun post 25 yards away and had killed 1 gunner himself by the time the remainder of his detachment arrived and put the gun out of action. With the utmost bravery he continued to lead his men over 3 lines of hostile trenches, cleaning up each one as they advanced, regardless of the fact that he had been wounded 3 times, and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand encounters.
After his pistol ammunition was exhausted, this gallant officer seized the rifle of a dead soldier, bayoneted several members of a machine-gun crew, and shot the other. Upon reaching the fourth-line trench, which was his objective, 1st Lt. Turner captured it with the 9 men remaining in his group and resisted a hostile counter-attack until he was finally surrounded and killed.
Private President Mahala
120th Infantry, 30th Division
Died on 1st October 1918
Grave: C 05 04
Private James Scowden
108th Infantry, 27th Division
Died on 29th September 1918
Grave: B 24 06
There are three Commonwealth burials within the cemetery. All three were American nationals.
Lieutenant James Hall
60 Sqdn Royal Air Force
Died on 8th August 1918 aged 22
Son of Charles and Edith Hall
of 132, North Alexandria Avenue
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Born in U.S.A.
Educated at Malden and Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
Grave: D 20 13
Rifleman Samuell Hill 60371
4th Bn 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Died on 30th June 198 aged 26
Son of Benjamin Hill and E Hill
of New Castle, Kentucky, USA
American Consular Officer, Auckland.
Grave: A 29 01
Lieutenant Theodore Hostetter
3 Sqdn Royal Air Force
Died on 27th September 1918
Son of Mrs A Burchard
of 57E 64th Strteet
New York USA
Grave: A 34 04
Soldiers of the 33rd US Division fought alongside the Australians at Le Hamel. During the battle Corporal Thomas Pope’s actions resulted in him receiving the first Medal of Honor awarded in France (he survived the war).