World War I - June 27, 2014
Q: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of what was once called “The Great War.” The first American officer killed in World War I was Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, a Kansas native and a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Can you give us the name of the lieutenant’s hometown?
A: Burlington, Kan.
Army Lt. William T. Fitzsimons is considered the first American officer killed in World War I. Fitzsimons attended St. Mary’s College in Kansas and later graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1912. The young doctor was killed in a German air raid in September 1917 (some sources say Sept. 4, others say Sept. 7) when bombs fell on a field hospital in Calais, France. In 1920, an army hospital in Aurora, Colo., was renamed in his honor. At 12th and Paseo in Kansas City (where his family moved after living in Burlington), a fountain was built in his honor, which can still be seen today. And, a mural of Fitzsimons, by artist Jim Stukey, has been painted in the soldier’s hometown of Burlington. William Fitzsimons was just 28 years old when he was killed.
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