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Sol Holtzman
148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Division

July 24, 2014
After the adoption of David Worth Lorings grave at the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem earlier this year, I received a newsletter from the Adopt a Grave program, American Legion Post. They reminded us in this newsletter that there are still several names on the Tablets of the Missing that can be adopted. I immediately contacted them to volunteer for this. This is my eleventh adoption soldier, my second from World War I:

Sol Holtzman
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service #1757684
Co F, 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Division
Entered service on April 28,1918 from New York


148th Infantry Regiment

37th Division

Private 1st Class

Born: March 15, 1888
Hometown: Sakiai, Russia (now Latvia), later Rochester, New York, USA

Died: November 4, 1918
Status: killed in action (KIA)

Buried: Tablets of the Missing, Flanders Field American Cemetery Waregem, Belgium
Awards: Purple Heart

Family
Father: /
Mother: /
Brothers: Harry
Sisters: /

More information
Sol Holtzman was born on March 15, 1888 in Sakiai in former Russia, now known as Latvia. Sakiai was a town where the majority of the inhabitants was jewish. We can conclude from his name that Sol was jewish too. Sol had brown eyes, black hair and a bit baldy.

Latvia
Sakiai

It's not known when he exactly emigrated to the United States, but at the outbreak of the war he resided in Rochester, New York, together with two brothers and two sisters. He owned his own clothing store in Penn Yan, New York. After this he returned to his family in Rochester, New York where he started a new business until he entered service.

New York (United States)
Rochester

Sol was 30 years old when he entered service on April, 28, 1918 as a Private. He was assigned to 12th Company, 3rd Training Battalion, 153rd Depot Brigade, transferred to 39th Company, 10th Training Battalion, 153rd Depot Brigade on May 21, 1918 and finally to Company F, 37th Divivsion, 148th Infantry Regiment on June 5, 1918. He was trained at Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia.

On June 22, 1918 he embarked to cross the ocean and participate in World War I. On October 28, 1918 he was promoted to Private 1st Class. He fought North West of Verdun, Heurne in Belgium, Baccarat in France and the Meuse-Argonne area in France.

The 37th Division replaced the French 132nd Division on October 30 to reinforce the Ypres-Lys Offensive in Belgium. They pushed the German line backwards and crossed the Escaut/Scheldt River.

Sol was killed in action on November 4, 1918 during the Lys-Escaut offensive in Belgium. He was buried in the area of Heuvel in Belgium.
Despite his name being on the Tablets of the missing in the chapel of the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem, Belgium, it is most likely that his body is under one of the crosses with the inscription 'Here rests in honoured glory, an American soldier, known but to God' at that same cemetery.

A letter from Lieutenant Wesley Morris Jr. of Company F, 148th Infantry, gave the following details:
"Private Holtzman was instantly killed by the shock of an exploding shell on the last day of the Lys-Escaut offensive in Belgium on November 4th.
Our division, the 37th, was sent to Belgium during the last part of October to aid the French. We started near Olense and drove the Germans across the Escaut River. Company F was intrenched in a railroad cut near the town of Heuvel, on November 4, when the German heavy artillery, located near Ghent, laid a heavy barrage on our lines. During this barrage a shell struck near the shelter of Private Holtzman, killing him instantly and wounding a comrade who was with him. He must have died of shock, because I could not find a mark on him when I went to him. His grave is located near the town of Heuvel, Belgium. Private Holtzman joined us at Camp Lee, Virginia. He served with us in the front line in the Baccarat sector. He was with us in the fierce fighting in the Argonne forest from September 26th to October 1st. After a short stay in the front line before Metz we went to Belgium. He was always ready for any duty. His specialty was rifle grenades, and he had no equal in our company. My boys are more than comrades of mine. I was talking to Private Holtzman on the afternoon of November 4th. He expressed a desire to visit his parents before returning to the United States after the war. I am proud to have had him as one of my company. No man ever served his country more faithfully."

At the bottom of this page you can find a picture of the Victory Medal of the city of New York and the medal of the city of Rochester. These are his original medals but were sold somewhere on the internet.
The Victory Medal and the Purple Heart, which he had a right to receive, were never awarded to him.

This info was retrieved through Patrick Lernout and Christopher Sims, from their book ‘The Soldiers of the Flanders Field American Cemetery' (2011). 

 


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More pictures





Sources

- http://www.abmc.gov
- http://www.findagrave.com
- Patrick Lernout & Christopher Sims (book ‘The Soldiers of the Flanders Field American Cemetery’)


Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (nicklieten@hotmail.com). Thank you!