Today is the 99th anniversary of the death of Evansville soldier Sgt. Frederick Myler who died on 9/22/1918 near Thiaucourt, France. Fred came to Evansville as a young adult, having already served in the Navy from ages 17-20. He had broken his leg after falling in the rigging of his ship which led to his discharge. Originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, he joined his father and brothers to work as a potter at National Pottery in the city. After his injury healed up, he became quite the powerhouse in athletic events at the company picnics in Garvin Park.
Fred was well known and popular on the West Side. He came from a large family of 8 brothers and sisters. His parents were proud of their German heritage. He married Mayme Dunn in 1911 and their two children coming quickly after. Like many young couples, they had their struggles in their early years. They often found themselves in Circuit Court for minor issues where they would exchange words and the judge would engage in a little marital counseling. Mayme once charged Fred with failure to support their child but the charges were dismissed after he promised to spend less time at watching the games at Bosse Field and driving around with his friends. They reconciled and seemed to find peace for a time after that.
Fred was distraught at the sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans in 1915, perhaps due to his time as a sailor. He felt strongly about fighting against the Germans, despite his parent’s wishes that he return to Germany to fight for them. Shortly after the sinking, he traveled to Canada, lied on his enlistment forms, and found himself in the 2nd Pioneer Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.
He returned home in 1916 following the death of his 18 month old daughter, Lowessa. Instead of returning to the Canadian Army, he enlisted in the U.S. Army upon U.S. entry into the war. Fred had to enlist under an alias, John Keller, as he was AWOL from the Canadian forces. He served with Company M, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, first in Camp Dix, New Jersey, and later in combat overseas. He took part in the St. Mihiel Offensive, which was the first U.S. led offensive in the war. Sgt. Myler’s Company was called to be the lead element on the Raid on Mon Plaisir Ferme, near Thiaucourt, France, on 9/22/1918. The raid kicked off at 1:00 in the morning. They were needed to hold a road on the outskirts of town for 20 minutes so engineers could destroy the buildings and trenches German troops had been using as cover. Company M was successful in holding the line but the victory came at a high price. Twenty-three men were killed, including Sgt. Frederick Myler.
He was laid to rest in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery just outside of Thiaucourt until 1922 when his remains were repatriated to Arlington National Cemetery. Today he rests in Section 18, Grave #4441.
Today we honor and remember fallen soldier Sgt. Frederick Grant Myler. May he rest in peace.