January 18, 1919


This is a letter which appeared in the Record over two and a half months after Ellwood Brockner had been killed in action. It is from his Captain to his parents telling of his actions and offering his and many in the Companies condolences.

Ellwood Brockner was killed in action on October 30, 1918, only 11 days before the Armistice was signed bringing the Great World War to an end. Think of the grief his mom and dad must have felt having received the letter from the war department that their son had been killed in action on November 21, 1918, ten days after the declared end of the war.

Written by:
Bob Meli

The Evening Record
January 18, 1919

Captain Says Brockner Died Death of Hero
Saturday, January 18, 1919

Hackensack Boy Dared to Remove Firescreen to Protect Lives of Others.

Capt. Thomas A. Wilson, of Company B, 309th Machine Gun Battalion, to which was attached Private Ellwood Brockner, of 21 Linden street, Hackensack, writes to the brave boy's mother, telling her how Ellwood died the death of a true hero, instantly killed by an exploding shell while bent on removing a firescreen which would have endangered the lives of his comrades had it been observed by the enemy.
The letter follows:

"Co. B, 309th Machine Gun Batallion, Nov. 15, 1918; American E. F.

"My Dear Mrs. Brockner:
"No doubt upon receipt of this letter you have already learned of the sudden death of your son, Ellwood, who was killed in action on October 30, 1918, while heroically serving his country for the most worthy cause under the 'Stars and Stripes.' the flag which our good and noble American soldier boys have unfurled over the many recaptured towns and villages, bringing joy to our Allies and the war to a termination.

"You being a parent of our departed martyr know too well the good qualities and character which he posessed and can appreciate the fact that our company has lost a true and loyal soldier comrade. He never shirked his duties but always fulfilled them willingly, properly and with a good spirit, even though they were dangerous and difficult. As your son met his death he was with his machine gun crew which held a very important position on a hill slightly beyond Grand Pre and which was greatly harassed by enemy fire. After being on duty behind his gun through the night he volunteered to return to the gun implacement and remove a firescreen which would have endangered the lives of his comrades has it been observed by the enemy at daybreak. While performing this precarious act, an enemy shell burst near him and the flying shrapnel caused instant death. Your son was buried by his comrades in a pretty little cemetery in the churchyard at Grand Pre where the remains now rest of many other fallen heroes.

"My dear Mrs. Brockner, I want to offer you the most heartfelt sympathy of every man in Company B- all his friends- the officers, and my personal sympathy. Being a parent, I can understand your feelings, and know that these few words of condolence cannot help you in your present bereavement. Time alone will heal all wounds. God has made his calling and He alone can be judge, so console yourself with the thought that it was made for a purpose which some day, we will understand, and be contented with your son's trials and tribulations in this short hard life are over and that his deed has brought him a reward in that land where happiness alone abides.

"Once more offering you my sincerest sympathy and with hopes that the Lord will give you the required strength during the present trial. I am. Your with deepest sorrow.

"Thomas A. Wilson.
"Captain Infty. U. S. A.
"Re: Pvt Ellwood Brockner Serial No.1727220. Co. B, 309th Machine Gun Battalion, killed in action on October 30th, 1918, at Grand Pre, France." "