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Capt. Walter H. Fox


West Union Argo-Gazette
West Union, Fayette Co., Iowa
April 23, 1919
Page 3, column 1 and 2
Recognition by Serbian Government of Waucoma Doctor Who Died on Washington's Birthday

Letters Tell of Affection Felt For Him by Serbians, and of Funeral Honors Paid
Dr. Walter H. Fox of Waucoma, who as a captain in the medical corps of the United States army died in Serbia on Feb. 22, was decorated by the Serbian government, and a military hospital has been named in his honor Dr. Fox spent most of his life in West Union, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Fox, are residents of this city.

Recent letters received by Dr. Fox's widow, Mrs. Bess Fox of Waucoma, have been forwarded by her to Dr. Fox's parents here. One of them is written from Belgrade on Feb 25 by Lieut. Col. Thomas W. Farnam, commissioner for Serbia of the American Red Cross, and addressed to Col. Anderson of the Balkan commission, at Rome. It is as follows:

"I wrote you hurriedly, in long hand, on Washington's birthday in order to take advantage of the courier leaving that afternoon. That evening I received a telegram from Smederevo announcing the death of Capt. Walter H. Fox, who was in charge of our unit there.

"Captain Fox had been ill for a week, and as soon as pneumonia developed the doctors felt that his case was hopeless. Everything that could be done for him was done. Three of our best nurses were with his unit, and we sent two doctors from here.

"The Serbian authorities at Smederevo held an impressive memorial service there, and marched with the body to the boat when it was brought to Belgrade Sunday afternoon. Through the courtesy of the Serbian government, a military funeral was given Dr. Fox yesterday afternoon, here. All the officials were present, or sent representatives. We all marched to the cemetery under escort of a full company of Serbian soldiers. At the cemetery a volley was fired and American 'taps' were sounded by one of the Serbian buglers. The funeral services were very impressive, and the kindness and sympathy of the Serbians were very much appreciated.

"Dr. Fox was awarded a decoration by the minister of war in recognition of the fine work that he had done during the short time he was in our service here."

Miss Harriet L. Leete, chief nurse for northern Serbia, who was chief nurse in A. R. C. military hospital No. 5 when Dr. Fox was there, writes to his widow as follows:

"Before this you have received the cable from Lieut.-Col. Farnam telling of Capt. Fox's death. I cannot tell' you how my 'heart aches for you, even though he gave his life for others. His memory is a blessed one, for he had made the people for whom he worked love him. The nurses who were with him will write about his life at Semendria.

"Capt. Fox was with us at No. 5 military hospital, so Lieut. Regan, adjutant at No. 5, and I, went down to see Capt. Fox on Saturday. He knew us, and smiled back, even though he was so desperately ill that we knew he could not recover. The only flowers we could obtain in Belgrade were some white wild flowers which were sent into Belgrade for the first time on Monday. The doctors and nurses took all the florist had, and made two wreaths for him. We also made an ivy, blanket for under the casket One of my nurses will write you about the flowers from Semendria. I was especially touched by the flowers they arranged around the head of the casket, as I know you would have been. I tried to take some pictures of the funeral procession for you, but the pictures here have hot been very successful, so I am nit sure whether they will be good or not. If they are I will send them on to you, also will send the films. It will be several weeks, as they cannot be developed at once. I am also sending some flowers from the casket. Under the wreath given by the Serbian people was placed the little American flag, and over everything a large American flag was stretched, The funeral was entirely military, with an English clergyman officiating. At the last, the bugler blew our own 'taps'. The sorrow and the sweet sympathy were beautifully expressive of appreciation for an American who had died in service for them. I wish you might know how greatly he was appreciated by this country, and I know that when the nurses who were with him write you about his illness you will get a picture of their devotion to him."

The news concerning the naming of the "Fox Hospital" for Dr. W.H. Fox comes to Mrs. Fox from Mrs. McPherson of Kansas City, whose husband, Dr. McPherson, is Dr. Fox's successor in charge.


~ Transcribed by Constance for 'Iowa in the Great War' IAGenWeb Special Project, December 2016