LARSON, Tommy ?-1918
LARSON, LARSEN, FRENZEL
Posted By: Joe Conroy (email)
Date: 9/6/2010 at 10:04:10
2 Jul 1918
Hun Gas Kills Waterloo Boy In Front Line
Tommy Larson Gassed While Asleep In Dugout; Inmates Masks Defective.
Volunteered For Service
Another life from the ranks of Black Hawk soldiers was claimed by the Hun in May, according to a letter received by C. V. Frenzel, 812 Mullan avenue, from his brother Jack, in which it was stated that Tommy Larson had met his death from the effects of a gas bomb which exploded near a dugout in which he was sleeping.
The letter said Larson was in the dugout, and evidently was wearing a mask in case gas was started across. While asleep a gas bomb exploded just outside. Whether the mask was defective or just what happened the letter did not say, but Larson soon began to cough when the fumes began to penetrate and coughed so hard that he was unable to keep the mask on, and the poisonous fumes had an opportunity get in their deadly work.
Larson was taken out by his comrades but died a short time after being rescued. Jack Frenzel and Larson were close friends and Frenzel's letters often mentioned him.
Tommy Larson came to Waterloo in 1915 and worked for the Iowa Telephone company and Citizens' Gas and Electric company during his stay here, as a lineman. When war was declared, he enlisted in Company G, of the Iowa National Guard and when the company was divided was one of the young men selected to "across" with the Rainbow division.
He was well known among the younger men of the city and had made many friends by his amiable disposition, having the reputation of always being good natured and ready with a song on any occasion. To one of his friends just before he left with his company he said: "I'm going to sing my way clear into Berlin."
Larson was a member of the Eagles, having transferred from a California aerie to Waterloo aerie No. 764. Among his brother Eagles he was well liked.
An attempt to locate Larson's relatives is being made by C. V. Frenzel, but as yet he has not had any success. It is thought Larson's relatives lived near Sioux City, but just where has not been learned.
Waterloo Evening Courier
2 Jul 1918
Tommy Larson, Co. G Singer, Gassed Overseas
German Bomb Exploded in Front of His Dugout, Word From John Frenzel, His Pal.
Jolly, jovial Tommy Larson, the singing member of Co. G in the Rainbow division, is dead in France. Confirmation of the tragedy that overtook him when a German gas bomb exploded in front of his dugout is contained in a letter from his pal, John Frenzel, to C. V. Frenzel of 812 Mullan avenue.
Soldier Frenzel makes only a brief allusion to the death, evidently believing Waterloo friends had been informed of his demise. He says:
"I wrote to you before that Tommy had been transferred to a telephone outfit and was well. Shortly afterward he was killed by gas. Tommy was asleep in a dugout with his gas mask on but he had to cough so hard it must have worked off for he died at a dressing station a half hour after the bomb exploded."
In the American casualty list the latter part of May appeared the name of Thomas Larson of Sioux City. This evidently was the Waterloo man. He had been in this city about two years prior to enlisting with Co. G. While here he worked for the Citizens Gas & Electric company and also for the Iowa Telephone Co. He was a member of the Sacramento, Cal., Aerie of Fraternal Order of Eagles. His reputation here was that of a jolly good fellow. So far as can be learned he had no relatives in this section, his transfer card to the Waterloo Eagles having been issued in California.
4 Jul 1918
Think Tommy Larson's Mother In California
Relatives of Tommy Larson, a Waterloo soldier who was killed by German gas last May, have not been located yet by friends of the dead soldier in the city. Mrs. Wm. Wagner, of 207 East Eleventh street, notified the Times-Tribune office yesterday that Larson used to room at her house and that a postal card had been left there. This card was sent to young Larson by his mother and came from Los Angeles, Cal. Whether his relatives are in California or in a town near Sioux City as was first given out, is not known yet.
The fact that Larson was a former member of the Eagles in California may substantiate the report that his relatives live in California.
(Contributor note: WWI draft registration records identify a Tom V. Larson of Waterloo who claimed exemption from the draft on account of his telephone work. Birth information for that individual was listed as 15 March 1888 in Centerville, Iowa. An 8 April 1922 article in the Waterloo Evening Courier indicated the Becker-Chapman American Legion post sought information regarding the burial location of Pvt. Larson. - J.C.)
Black Hawk Obituaries maintained by Kermit Kittleson.
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