Sunday, June 15, 2014

John J. Haspel: gone but not forgotten

From [in memory of buddy haspel, co. E, 165th inf.] by Mathew Kremer:

two men were rescued
and five bodies recovered.
the voices of other survivors
could be heard from the dugout.
all told, john had been gone
only a few short months when
news of his end reached the wires.
at the time of his enlistment,
he was employed at a
munitions plant in brooklyn.
how did he commute there, i wonder?
after hours of intense rescue efforts
and under heavy enemy artillery fire,
they finally had to give up any hope
of reaching the remaining soldiers.
the bodies of fifteen men still
remained in the dugout, but
recovery was impossible due
to mudslides and enemy shelling.
only days later after the attack
had subsided were they
able to dig him out.

haspel's commemoration was
quite the affair in elmhurst
when his remains came home.
all day sunday neighbors and
visitors visited the home of
the dead soldier on wool street,
to express their sympathy with
members of the immediate family.
there were three landaus of floral
tributes from friends and elmhurst
organizations, the large standing
tribute with the inscription,
'for god and country' contributed
by the residents of the neighborhood.
after these preliminaries, the casket
was placed on a gun carriage
drawn by four horses.
from there, it was
taken on a parade route
throughout the neighborhood,
from wool street to st. adalbert's
catholic church, where the
remains were blessed.
making its way down grand
and over to newtown high
where at one time haspel
was a student,
the funeral continued
to st. john's cemetery where
a squad of ex-service men
fired a volley over the grave
and taps were sounded.
when his bones were
finally interred, the party
made its way back to wool street,
where a white sateen banner hung
from the front rail with the letters,
'we speak his name with pride:
buddy haspel, co. E, 165th Inf.'


Anonymous said...

Who is this guy Crappy?

Queens Crapper said...

The first Queens resident to die in WWI. A street in Elmhurst is named for his family as well as a VFW.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Haspel Street in Elmhurst. I knew that it was named for the 1st Queens casualty in WW1, but I never knew anything else about him. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


TommyR said...

His record of service from the Library of Congress.

"In March 1918 came news of the first Elmhurst casualty: John Joseph Haspel of old 174 Wool Street (now 53-16), a member of the 165th Infantry, who had been killed in action on March 7th at age 18. On petition of the local assemblyman, Wool Street was renamed Haspel Street in his memory and the name still survives today."
-pg's 133-135, "Elmhurst From Town Seat to Mega-Suburb", by Vincent F. Seyfried.

The link shows what he looked like. He died so young! My elderly neighbor related how his mother had met the chap when she was a young child. I think on the history of my street often. Anyone finding this post can read about the history of the area here: