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MEMORIAL DAY IN BELGIUM: WEEKEND OF 25-30 MAY 2017

SERGEANT DAVID STANLEY BEATTIE

105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division

Sergeant D. Stanley Beattie was born in 1896, the son of David and Isabel Beattie of Troy, New York.  He joined the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the New York Army National Guard.  This regiment was mustered into federal service on 1 July 1916 for action against Pancho Villa on the Mexican border.  Although the regiment suffered no casualties, it was not easy duty.  At one point, the regiment endured a 125-mile, ten-day march through typhoid-infected territory in temperatures over 100 degrees.  After the situation in Mexico quieted down, the New York National Guard was released from federal duty on 18 October 1916.  The regiment would not be at rest for long.  Six months later, on 25 March 1917, the regiment was again called into federal service in preparation for the First World War. 

At first, the regiment guarded railroad bridges and munitions factories in New York against sabotage.  However, in early 1918 it was assigned to the 27the Division and re-designated the 105th Infantry Regiment.  It shipped to Europe in May and arrived in France on Memorial Day 1918.  It was assigned to the British Third Army for training.  On 14 July, it became the first American regiment to take over a sector of the trench lines in Belgium, occupying a section of the Dikkebus Line near Poperinge. 

Sgt. Beattie was a forward artillery observer for his regiment, and he was killed at his post by artillery shrapnel on 31 August 1918.  An obituary in the Troy Times of Friday 27 September 1918 said this about him:

"Sergeant Beattie was one of the most popular young soldiers in the local regiment.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. David L. Beattie, of 22 Hawthorn Avenue, and was born in this city about twenty-two years ago.  He was a graduate of the public schools and the Troy High School and was one of the most popular students in the latter institution.  He was manager of the school football team and also a player on the team and was the school correspondent for The Troy Times.  He was a member of the debating society and was considered an excellent speaker.  Sergeant Beattie was employed in the Manufacturers’ Bank before enlisting in his country’s service.  He joined Company A of the old Second Regiment and served on the Mexican border.  There he was admired for his pluck and fortitude shown on long hikes and in the other work.  He remained in the company at the close of the Mexican trouble and when the United States entered the present war went with his company to Camp Wadsworth at Spartanburg.  Later he was transferred to the Intelligence Department and promoted to Sergeant. According to a letter received in this city, Sergeant Beattie was at an advanced lookout post, about five miles behind front lines.  While on duty there a German shell landed nearby and a fragment of it struck Beattie on the head, just at the temple.  He was taken on a stretcher to the rear but died on the way.”

Sgt. Myron Fales was an eyewitness to Sgt. Beattie’s death.  In his report to company headquarters, Fales wrote:

"Sgt. David Beattie met his death while on duty in a forward observation post in the Dickebush Sector in Belgium on August 31st 1918. I had just called his attention to a party of Huns moving forward on a path near our field of vision, and had handed over the telescope to him, when a high explosive shell burst directly in front of our post. A fragment of the shell cut through the top of the high parapet of the post and struck Sgt. Beattie over the left temple. He died less than an hour later in the First Aid Station, never regaining consciousness.”

Sgt. Beattie was buried at the Lijssenthoek Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and his family requested that his remains not be disturbed.  His family had the following inscription carved into his tombstone:  "He Lived By Faith, He Still Lives.”


Jerome Sheridan wrote the story above, drawing on the following sources:

  • The IDPF of Staff Sergeant Stanley Beattie
  • Information provided by Mr. Chris Sims of the Flanders Field American Cemetery and that is now included in the book De Soldaten van de Amerikaanse Militaire Begraafplaats Flanders Field by Patrick Lernout and Christopher Sims (Groeninghe Kortrijk, 2011.) 
  • Various histories of the First World War

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