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Clarence A. Dunning

Submitted by: David Corvino {Friend of the family}

Clarence Dunning image

Clarence A Dunning born around 1889. Clarence Dunning served in World War I with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


The Summerville South Carolina American Legion Post was named in honor of Summerville resident and World War I veteran Clarence A. Dunning. Clarence was killed in action near Bellicourt, France on September 29, 1918.

He was the son of Francis A. Dunning and the former Catherine D. Busch of Summerville. Born October 18, 1889, Dunning grew up in Summerville, and lived on Gum Street. He had three brothers; John, Henry and Herbert, and one sister, Emma. Clarence was the second youngest child, just 3 years older than Herbert and 9 years younger than John. He enjoyed a typical childhood, growing up in the small town life that Summerville offered. He attended Quakenbush School and Summerville school. In 1917 he was employed as a grocery clerk by J.M. Dawling at 29 Wentworth Street in Charleston. The 1917 Charleston City Directory also lists Clarence as working in a grocery store at 343 East Bay Street. It is unclear if he worked in both places.

Clarence was married to Lottie Bell Berrie on April 30th, 1914. They were technically married at the time that he died but were living apart when Clarence was drafted, according to Chris Dunning. Clarence was inducted on March 30, 1918, and began basic training at Camp Jackson in Columbia, SC on April 1, 1918. After basic training, he joined his division in training at Camp Sevier in Greenville, SC. From Camp Sevier, he was transferred to Camp Mills, New York to await transport to France. On June 4, 1918, Dunning sailed with his organization from New York for overseas service on the RMS Mauretania, arriving in Liverpool, England, June 11, 1918. Assigned to a rest camp for 11 days, he was then sent to Calais (Pas-de-Calais) on June 22, 1918, and proceeded to 17th Training Area In the vicinity of Fays-Billot (Haute-Marne) where he remained until July 21, 1918.

The 118th Ambulance Corps, 105th Sanitary Train was stationed at Proven, Belgium, with the 30th Division in British 2nd Army area during the latter part of July and the first of August 1918. The 105th Sanitary Train, 118th Ambulance Company participated in the following battle engagements: Canal sector (Flanders) August 18, 1918; Ypres-Lys August 19 to September 4, 1918, and the Somme Offensive September 24 To October 22, 1918. In August, 1918, the Allies launched the Hundred Days Offensive. A series of advances by the Allies broke through the German defenses along the Hindenburg Line. A joint American-Australian force attacked at Bellicourt, France in late September. On the day the allies breached the Hindenburg Line Private Dunning was working in the forward area as a stretcher bearer. He was part of a four man squad evacuating wounded. Early the morning of the 29th of September the Germans launched a heavy artillery barrage. After an interval of comparatively light fire the artillery was brought again into play and in the midst of it Clarence and three other bearers were caught about 8 o'clock in the morning while bringing in the wounded. A 77mm shell referred to as a whizz-bang exploded about ten feet from this squad killing two and badly injuring the two others. A small fragment of the shell about the size of a bullet struck him a little to the rear of the left temple. He was 28 years old.

Clarence was initially buried in Tincourt, France but was brought home and buried at Magnolia Cemetery on Sunday, April 17, 1921. The funeral services were held in the morning at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Summerville. The funeral arrangements were looked after by Clarence A. Dunning Post 21 of the American Legion, the body of the gallant soldier having arrived at Summerville on Friday, April 15. The services at Summerville were attended by many who came to pay their last tribute of respect to the memory of the dead soldier, after whom the American Legion Post had been named. The following members of the Post acted as pallbearers: Eugene Tighe, Thomas Stout, Chalmers Waring Jr., Samuel McDougal, Richard Waring, William McDougal, Hayden Doty and Daniel S. Miler. The Legion, the Red Cross, Business Men's League, Town Council and the school children of Summerville were represented in the funeral procession. The funeral dress was very impressive. The body was brought to Charleston on the 12:15 train, and was met at the union station by several members of Charleston Post No. 10, American Legion, who with those from Summerville formed as escort. Rev. S. L. Blungren, pastor of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church officiated at the internment services. Taps were sounded, and a salute fired. He was cited for his heroic service.

Clarence's military records were lost in a fire in the Army Records Center in Kansas in 1971. The majority of the records from WWI were lost in that fire.



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