Tag Archives: Gilbert Ratcliff

Gilbert Ratcliff – WWI Soldier Killed Day Before Armistice

All casualties of war are sad, not only for the parents and family, but the rest of the country.  No one wants to lose a child, spouse, sibling, relative or friend.  But to be killed the day before the armistice took effect must have been an extra blow to the loved ones of Gilbert Ratcliff.  Since his parents were not informed until December 6, I’m sure they were ready to welcome their hero home from the war, sure that he had made it through. 

My uncle, Robert Carrico, was killed in Sicily in September of 1943.  My mother, her parents and siblings, never got over his death.  Even in her last years she would tear up talking about Robert.  I’m sure Gilbert Ratcliff’s photograph was hung on the wall, in prominent view, for all to see and remember – I know Uncle Robert’s was.

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th US Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, December 7, 1918

Six Gold Stars on Shelby’s Honor Roll

Gilbert Ratcliff’s Death Makes Total of 26 Casualties From the County

Shelbyville, Kentucky, December 6th.  Shelby County has given its sixth life to the cause of liberty and freedom.

Mr. and Mrs. Logan Ratcliff were notified by the War Department today that their son, Gilbert, who was in his twenty-seventh year, was killed in battle in France, November 10, the day before the armistice was signed.

Ratcliff went to Camp Zachary Taylor May 28 and sailed overseas the following August.  He was attached to a machine gun company.

Shelby’s other hero sons are:

Corporal Jesse N. Martin, who died April 7.  Private Luther Stevens, whose death occurred some time in July; Sergeant Frank Jesse, death reported July 23; Corporal Aaron Devine, who died in August, and Noah Wilmott who died October 14.

In addition to these six fatalities, four Shelby boys have died in France from disease, fifteen in training camps here and one in an airplane accident, making the county’s honor roll, unofficially, twenty-six.

Gilbert Ratcliff Buried in Grove Hill Cemetery

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th U.S. Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Hill Grove Cemetery, Shelby County, Kentucky.

Gilbert Ratcliff was the youngest son of John Logan Ratcliff and Lucinda A. Sleadd, born August 22, 1890.  His parents were married in 1867.  Gilbert’s grandparents were William Sleadd and Sophie Vannatta.

In the 1900 census for Shelby County, Logan Ratcliff was 56, married for 33 years, and a farmer.  Lucinda was 52, a mother of 14 children, with 11 living.  The following children lived in the household – William, 28; Jessie, 21; Homer, 20; Newel, 17; Virginia, 15; and Gilbert, 9.

Gilbert’s draft registration card for World War I lists his home address as R.F.D. #3, Waddy, in Shelby County, Kentucky.  He was a natural born citizen, a farmer and worked for his father.  He was single.  Gilbert was medium tall, stout, with blue eyes and light hair.

How tragic that Gilbert died the day before the Armistice was signed.  How many lives were lost in that last day before the World War I ended?