World War I Honor Roll

Walter J. Behrer

Private, U.S. Army

Battery D 
307th Field Artillery

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: September 11, 1918
Buried at: Arlington National Cemetery
                  Arlington VA
Awards: Purple Heart

PRIVATE WALTER J. BEHRER was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 1894 to Joseph and Ella Behrer. He was an only child. When the census was taken in June of 1900 Joseph Behrer worked as a harness maker. The family then lived at 3703 North 16th Street in Philadelphia. By 1910 they had moved to 4415 Bancroft Street in Philadelphia. Shortly after the April 1910 Census enumeration the Behrer family moved to 3284 Westfield Avenue in East Camden. By 1914 Walter Behrer had gone to work as a billing clerk for a cotton wholesaler. 

When Walter Behrer for the draft in Camden on June 5, 1917, he was still living with his parents at 3284 Westfield Avenue in East Camden, and was working at the Victor Talking Machine Company plant as a cabinet finisher. He was called up on April 1, 1918 and sent to Camp Dix. Assigned to Battery D of the 307th Field Artillery Regiment, Private Behrer sailed for France with his unit in May of 1918. 

Private Behrer was part of a six man party carrying ammunition to his battery when a German shell burst overhead, killing him and another soldier, and wounding the remaining four. A book entitled "History of the 307th Field Artillery - September 1917-1919" reads as follows on page 80:

"The next several days were spent in hauling ammunition to these positions in preparation for an apparently big drive.  In the early morning hours of September 11th, whole engaged in this duty, the Germans caught our ammunition train on a cross-road near Mamey and shelled it severely, killing Privt. Walter J. Behrer and Privt. Charles J. Wehner, and seriously wounding Sergt. Harly B. Weick, Corp. Bertie E. A. Beales, Privts. Charles Wensek, John J. Kelly, and Guisseppe Mastrangelo.  These being our first losses we felt them greatly and everyone was touched to a sympathy beyond expression.  Our dead comrades were buried only a few yards from where they had met death, our chaplain conducting a very appropriate and military service.  The wounded sustained such injuries that they were moved to Field Hospitals and it was later learned that they were disqualified for future military service, and thus were never returned to us.  Our regiment mourned with us, our loss, as these were the first casualties to occur in the regiment.  The effects of this shelling had also killed eight or our horses and demolished one of our French caissons, likewise perforating the metal parts of the other caissons and limbers in the ammunition train."

and as follows on page 257:

Killed by shell fire on September 11, 1918, whole riding on a caisson which was carrying ammuntion to gun position on cross-roads near Mamey, France.  Buried in Grave No. 1, American Cemetery near Mamey.

Private Walter J. Behrer was survived by his parents, who moved to Pennsauken NJ shortly after the war. Private Behrer was brought home after the war, and buried at Arlington National Cemetery on August 4, 1921.

World War I Draft Registration Card
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Thanks to Jacob O. Grear IV for his help in creating this page