Janice Williams

Bernard Cunningham: Part II

In World War I on October 9, 2013 at 12:24 am

CUNNINGHAM_Bernard_withbunting

To continue the saga of Bernard – or Bernie – Cunningham.

Bernie and Annie were married and lived in Fort Worth for just a short time when she died February 20, 1918, from pneumonia. He moved back to his home in Hamilton then and enlisted in World War I only 2 months after Annie’s death, on April 26, 1918.  His cousin James Rector Cunningham, his father’s first cousin, but closer to Bernard’s age, had already enlisted and was overseas.

Bernard went through his basic training at Fort Travis, a training facility in San Antonio next to Fort Sam Houston, that was set up specifically to train the soldiers for this war. He trained for 5 weeks and then shipped out with the 90th Division, Co. F, 359th Infantry.

James Rector Cunningham died on June 12, 1918, in France. I am not sure that Bernard had even arrived on French soil yet and I wonder if he knew his cousin had been killed.

Bernard fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. He died on September 22, 1918. The battle was September 12 through 15, so I assume he was gravely wounded and died a week after the battle.

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There is an American cemetery near the battlefield where Bernard died, but his body was returned to Hamilton and he received full military honors when he was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery.

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The Indian Gap band played in the funeral procession.

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And Bernard was laid to rest.

CUNNINGHAM_Bernard_funeral1

The Comanche American Legion had already been named in honor of Rector Cunningham. Upon Bernie’s death, the American Legion #222 in Hamilton renamed itself the Cunningham Post and remains so to this day.

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