David Robidoux filled out a World War I Draft Registration form on 5 June 1917. At that time he was 23, and lived at 21 Ridge Street in Nashua, New Hampshire, he was employed as a section hand for the Boston & Maine Railroad. He was of medium height and build, and had brown hair and brown eyes.
The Nashua Telegraph of 6 April 1967 relates the story of the day David Robidoux probably left his home and family as a soldier. “On July 25, 1917 the first shipment of 900 recruits from the Nashua area left the city to be followed later by more than 1,600 others. Thousands of area residents accompanied the recruits to the train station. The recruits carried ‘comfort kits’ which the women of Nashua had paced. The train pulled out at 7:40 am bound for what was then Camp Devens, Mass., now Fort Devens, to the echoing strains of “We won’t comeback till it’s over, over there...”
David Robidoux became part of Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, the famed “Yankee Division.” SSG Esther Kazian wrote a “History of the 103rd Infantry,” that details of what happened next. ” They [103rd infantry] assembled at Westfield, Massachusetts… were consolidated with other [brigades]…and designated the 103rd on August 22nd, 1917. The regiment entered the front lines on February 8, 1918 and until the Armistice on November 11, 1918 they were constantly at the front…While overseas the regiment participated in the following battles: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihel, Meuse-Argonne Ile de France 1918, Lorraine 1918.”
The newspapers announced on 6 August 1918 first that David Robidoux had been severely wounded, and then shortly thereafter that he had been killed in action. His official death date is recorded as 17 July 1918. The dates of July 15-17, 1918 are during the Marne-Reims Offensive, and records report some heavy bombing in the trenches just prior to that battle.
As were his companions who fell, David Robidoux was at first buried in France. When the war ended, his remains were returned to the United States, where he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, on 26 July 1923 in Section 18, Grave 4562. [Editor’s note: You can find his grave listing both on Find-A-Grave where there are a few more details about his family, and at the Arlington Cemetery Find-A-Grave, the link can be found in the photograph of his tombstone.]
July 17, 1918
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].