Thursday, July 21, 2016

Off to war

Evansville Pres, 4 Sep 1917
When the US entered World War I, Edward John Rech was part of a group of men from Vanderburgh County, Indiana whose draft numbers were called up early when neighboring counties were not able or ready to supply their selected men. Edward was the oldest son of William Jacob Rech and Catherine Elizabeth Freyling, and he worked as a photographer in his father's shop. He had only signed his draft card on 31 May 1917, and was already ordered to report for duty according to the news article published on 4 September 1917.
WWI Draft Card, via Ancestry
Edward must have distinguished himself as a leader, as he was named a corporal during training at Camp Taylor as part of the 335th Infantry.
Evansville Press, 22 Sep 1917.
By November 1917, Edward had been made a sergeant.
Evansville Press, 20 Nov 1917.
The 335th regiment made quick progress in training. Edward was part of several hundred men selected in December 1917 to go to Fort Hancock in San Antonio, Texas in preparation to be sent to France.
Evansville Press, 20 Dec 1917.
Rech's photography skills were put to the use, and he was made an airplane photographer once assigned to service in San Antonio.
Evansville Press, 22 Feb 1918.
Evansville Press, 16 Mar 1918.
This ends the series of newspaper articles mentioning Edward Rech's service during World War I. I can't tell whether he was sent to Europe. He was officially released from the Army on 26 January 1919. Direct descendants of Edward Rech will want to request a copy of his Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File.

After the war, Edward returned to Evansville and appears regularly in news clippings for his participation in musical and athletic events. He later took over operation of the family photography studio from his father William, and attained leadership positions in the Indiana Association of Photographers. Edward was named President of the Indiana Association of Photographers in 1943.

Edward John Rech died in Evansville, Indiana on 28 November 1977.

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