In Honored Glory!
World War I Honor Roll

Ralph B. Elder

Corporal, U.S. Army

Company E
114th Infantry Regiment, 
29th Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: October 12, 1918
Buried at: Plot E Row 39 Grave 29
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
Romagne, France

CORPORAL RALPH B. ELDER was born April 3, 1894 in Camden NJ to Marcus W. and Frances Elder. The family had lived in South Camden in the late 1880s and early 1890s. When the Census was taken in 1900 the family lived at 101 Marlton Avenue in East Camden. Marcus Elder was then a clerk at an oil works. It appears that Marcus Elder passed away in the 1900s, as by the time of the 1900 Census Frances Elder had married Asher Tettmer. The family then lived at 610 Vine Street in North Camden. Ralph Elder, then 16, had gone to work in one of Camden's shipyards.

Ralph Elder was living at 134 North 26th Street in East Camden when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. At that time he was working for A. H. Green in Camden, making asbestos pole coverings. Ralph Elder had enlisted in the old 3rd New Jersey National Guard Regiment on February 27, 1916. He was activated and went away with his regiment on July 25, 1917. Ralph Elder was subsequently assigned to Company E, 114th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, 

Corporal Elder was killed in action on October 12, 1918 while serving with Company E, 114th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. This unit was part of the attack on German positions near Verdun on October 8, 1918. 

The 29th Infantry Division's account record has the following account for October 12 1918:

The 114th Infantry, 29th Division was attached to the 18th French Division, moved from its bivouac in the Cotee des Roches into position in the Ravin de Coassinvaux on the night of the 11th-12th October preparatory to an attack upon the Bois d'Ormont, which the Division had been ordered to make at 0700hrs on the 12th. In conjunction with the 66th French Infantry, the 114th moved to attack at the hour designated.

The objective of the 114th was the enemy line between Bois d'Ormont and Bois d'Moirey. The enemy has established a very strong dug in concrete line of machine guns. The French artillery unit providing preparatory fire had a severe shortage of artillery ammunition. The small amount that was actually fired was placed to far behind the enemy lines*. The artillery had very little effect on the enemy machine gun line and caused very little damage. The 1st Company of the 111th Machine Gun Battalion began its advance on Bois d'Ormont to support the 114th advance but was forced to pull back after only five minutes due to the heavy German Artillery. After just five minutes eleven soldiers of the 111th were killed.

The 114th eventually made it into Bois d'Ormont but the cost was very high. Six officers and 112 enlisted men were killed, twelve officers and 800 enlisted men were wounded in the engagement.

On October 12, 1918 the Bois d'Ormont was conquered at the cost of 118 casualties. Corporal Elder and  Private First Class Chester Anzide, both of Company E,  and several other Camden County men were of that number. 

Corporal Elder was one of three men who rushed a German machinegun nest in the Argonne Forest on October 12, 1918. One of his comrades was shot to pieces, another shot through the lungs, and Corporal Elder took a bullet through the eye, which caused his death.

Ralph Elder was 23 years old, and was survived by his mother, of 30 North 26th Street, Camden NJ and several siblings and step-siblings. 

World War I Draft Registration Card
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