Stories of the Fallen - JOHN GORCZYNSKI - Rochester, NY
US Army Private John Gorczynski entered the service In Rochester, New York on April 3, 1918. His tour of duty ended with his death from wounds received in action at Thiaucourt, Limey Sector, France, on September 23, 1918.
Jan Gorczynski was born in Poltusk, Penkowo, Russia, on May 4, 1894. As an 18 year old he arrived in New York City harbor on Sep- tember 22, 1912, aboard the SS Kaiserin Victoria Augusta. According to the ship’s manifest Jan’s destination was 135 Syke Street, Rochester, New York, the home of his uncle Gregorz Gorczynski.
At the time of his registration for the 1917 Draft, John was employed at the Genesee Metal Co. on Shearer Street in Rochester. John’s residence was 135 Syke Street, as a boarder, with his Uncle Gregory, his Aunt Felicia and several young cousins. After the war, Gregory, Felicia, and their family lived at 228 Weyl Street. Their daughter Genevieve married Stanley Koreszko and they continued to live in the Polish American neighborhood at the Weyl Street address.
Upon his induction into the US Army, on April 3, 1918, Pvt. John Gorczynski was immediately assigned to Company 12 of the 153rd Depot Brigade at Camp Dix for training. Training was completed on May 8, 1918, he was assigned to Company E 310th Infantry 78th Di- vision. He sailed back to Europe from New York City harbor aboard the “Beltana” on May 19, 2018. On September 22,1918, Pvt. John Gorczynski was wounded in action at Thiaucourt.
Captain Raymond L. Thompson, Regimental Operations and Intelligence Officer, says :
"The recollection of that night march will live long in the minds of all. Rain fell continuously, transforming the roads into a sea of mud, churned into a plastic mass by the transport which preceded us. Through the black night struggled the long columns of soldiers with their water-soaked packs. Blankets and shoes and all body-clothing were saturated with water, yet fires were forbidden lest the flare by night or smoke by day attract the alert Hun observation planes. Of hot food of course there was none."
“The march northward continued the night of September 6th, with three days’ rest at Gironcourt. September10, they were on again, amid great hardships, in mud and rain and the discomforts of hunger, part of the way lying rain-soaked in trucks, via Chatenois, Neufchateau and Toul, to the Bois de la Cote-en-Haye. Gone were the ‘glory,’ the bands and the flags; now they were merely a regiment of tired, wet men, trying to keep warm. They were approaching the front, and were in the grip and confusion of war. From a hilltop they saw the terriffic artillery display which opened the St. Mihiel Drive. The 310th Infantry, as part of the 78th Division, was being sent in to the St. Mihiel salient to relieve the Sixth Regiment of Marines. Officially the St. Mihiel Offensive ended at midnight, September 16, 1918. The 310th Infantry, desperately fatigued, stumbled on through chaos after the troops ahead, until they reached Thiaucourt in the Limey Sector, where they relieved the Marines, September 17, 1918, and took over the frontlines. Here they were exposed on three sides and were badly cut up by enemy shell and machine gun fire from September 17 to October 5, 1918.”
(Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County · Historic Monographs Collection World War Service Record, Volume I, Pages 84-86. )
And this is where Polish-American US Army Pvt. John Gorczynski fell…
Private, U. S. Army, John Gorczynski died on September 23, 1918 at Evacuation Hospital Number 12 in France. Private John Gorczynski is buried in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Plot A Row 1 Grave 6, Thiaucourt, France.