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Fri, 06.28.1895

Willie Galloway, WW I Soldier born

Willie Galloway

*Willie Galloway was born on this date in 1895. He was a Black farmer and soldier. Born in Gilmore, MO, and later lived in adjacent Wentzville, MO.

William "Willie" Galloway's parents were Edward and Phoebe Galloway, who lived east of Hopewell Baptist Church on Highway N. He had two brothers: Moses and Louis. The youngest, Willie, was a laborer on the Thomas Slattery farm near O'Fallon, MO. A few months after their father died in 1918, all three brothers enlisted in the Army. All three served during World War I. Only one of the brothers would return home.

He was assigned to the 805th Pioneer Infantry, nicknamed the "Bearcats." Galloway departed the states on September 4, 1918, on the Saxonia Troop Ship from Quebec, Canada. His unit was Company H of the 805th, an all-black segregated regiment of the United States Army during World War I. The 805th contained black soldiers, mainly from the state of Mississippi. The regiment landed in France in July 1918 and served in Europe until July 1919; the division saw 39 days of action.

Galloway was one of about 350,000 blacks drafted during the war and assigned to segregated units in the Army. Moses Galloway, whose unit was the 425th Reserve Labor Battalion, would return from the war. He farmed in Callaway Township and died in 1978. He is buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Louis died in camp on October 10, 1918, of pneumonia just twenty-five days after arriving in Europe. He is buried in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France.

On October 6, 1918, the 2nd Battalion of the 805th Infantry, which included H Company, was ordered to march from Clermont-En-Argonne to Avocourt to build and repair roads. They were ordered to the front. On their first night, they experienced a gas attack by the Germans. In the month they spent at Avocourt, German planes bombed their camp nearly every day. Their regimental historian would write they are "under continuous shell fire." On October 10, 1918, about a week after his arrival, Private William Galloway was killed in action, just four days after his brother died.

He died by German shell fire. Willie Galloway was the only African American from St. Charles County to die in action in World War I. There was no burial record file for Willie or Louis. For some reason, Galloway's mother decided to have the government repatriate only the remains of William, leaving Louis in his French grave. Willie Galloway was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 14, 1921. Willie Galloway is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.

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