A Soldier's Story: Sgt. Lawrence F. Condon

Company L, 106th Infantry, U.S. Army

Gerry Regan photo
The grave of Sgt. Lawrence F. Condon, St. Raymond's Cemetery, Bronx, New York.

Name: Lawrence F. Condon
Rank: Sergeant
Service: Company L, 106th Infantry, 27th Division ("O'Ryan's Roughnecks"), U.S. Army (American Expeditionary Force)
Conflict (s): World War I
Combat: Engagements around Mount Kemmel, July through Sept. 1, 1918
Date of Birth: November 1897
Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York
Irish ancestry: Father -- John Henry Condon (b. Brooklyn, N.Y.),
Mother -- Susan A. Irwin (b. Manhattan); Grandparents (Michael Condon, Isabella McGuire; William Irwin, Margaret Dinnin -- all likely Irish-born)
Date of Death: 12:16 a.m., Sept. 4, 1918, of gangrene three days after suffering shrapnel wounds in his left leg and an amputation

Burial Location: St. Raymond's Cemetery, Bronx, N.Y.

Memorable Quotation: "Tell Edward that he must be a very obedient boy now that he is in the Army. He must behave himself, keep his clothing neat and clean and equipement in ship shape fashion. Let him bring credit to you and the uniform he is wearing. This is a Great Cause we are fighting And we only want good soldiers over here to help us complete our job. " -- Writing on July 19, 1918, to his mother at home in the Bronx while serving in France with the U.S. Army

Legacy: A long-defunct post of the American Legion, in McKinley Square, the Bronx, was once known as the Condon-Michaels Post No. 889, named after Sgt. Condon and another soldier who died in France.

Collection of Gerald A. Regan
Sgt. Lawrence F. Condon

Narrative: Sgt. Condon, one of seven surviving children, worked as a pressman for the New York World newspaper, after his graduation from Morris High School in the Bronx, in New York City. At 19, volunteered for the 23rd New York, a Brooklyn-based National Guard unit, shortly after America's entry into World War 1. The 23rd would soon provide 2,200 men for the newly created 106th U.S. Infantry regiment.

Sgt. Condon wrote reassuringly from France during the summer of 1918 in a series of letters to his mother, Susan Condon; sister, Sue, and Sue's husband, Ray Regan (the author's grandfather). In his colorful manner, he addressed the full range of doughboy's complaints, directing his good-natured ire particularly at profiteering by ungrateful French natives. He added, in a note dated Aug. 17 to his friends Bill and Dave, written only two weeks before his death: "The French girls like all the soldiers but when you ask one to 'premmeard' they say "Apre la Guerre Monsuier." That means after the war mister. Oh yes, there great people."

... I know that he is still alive in the memory of the boys, And let us hope that we may decorate his grave not only once, but many more years to come. ... -- John Suhre Jr., Adjutant, Condon-Michael Post #889, American Legion to Mrs. Susan Condon

Writing from a U.S. Base Hospital in Dartford, England, six weeks later, Sgt. L.J. Collins, a friend of Sgt. Condon's, wrote to Lawrence's mother, telling briefly the circumstances of his fatal wound and adding: "A pal over here is a very different thing than it is back in the States because conditions over here brings out the man in a man, if there is any to be brought out and in his case I will again say he was a fellow whom as a friend was the best to be had, and as a soldier he could not be beat, and his name will go down in history as one of the faithful heroes to whom the people of the entire world will owe their all, both in love and memory for years and years to come."Larry, as his friends referred to him in several letters after his death, went "over the top" once on Aug. 31, and twice more the next day during a reconnaisance in force by his regiment. During the second patrol, his left leg was shattered by an enemy shell. He perished shortly after midnight on Sept. 4, in a Canadian army field hospital. He was one of perhaps 600 men in the 106th to lose his life in three days of fighting.

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Tags: Army, Canada, Dartford, England, France, Graves, Great War, United States, War, World War 1, More…Worldwide

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on May 29, 2014 at 12:30am

I enjoyed  reading this write up on Sgt Lawrence Condon. The words of praise from his buddy, Sgt Collins, says all that is needed to say, esp.  the part of ' bringing out the man in a ma '  and '  as a friend, the best to be had '. That one says is all.  Thanks for posting this.. >>

Comment by Gerry Regan on May 29, 2014 at 10:42am

Patrick, so much more to say about Turk's story. Hope you follow this thread for more in the weeks and months to come. Ger

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on May 29, 2014 at 2:50pm

Ger,   Roger that last xmsn.  I intend to do so. Thanks. >>>

Patrick

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on June 2, 2014 at 12:45am

Ger,   will be following the thread a little closer - I  thought the name Condon rang a bell - it is in my genealogical trail - leading towards Joliet, Illinois - to a Bernard Condon and Marguerite O'Leary and Anna Cavanaugh. Yes, indeed  I will be following this thread/trail. >>

Comment by Gerry Regan on June 2, 2014 at 5:00pm

Patrick, I've only gotten as far back as Lawrence's father, John Henry Condon, born in New York in the 1860s. Let's compare notes as time goes on. I'm not even sure where in Ireland the family originates.

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