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#0511: Willa Cather to Charles F. Cather, July 7 [1920]

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My Dearest Father1:

If the weather is good I wish you would go out and tell Aunt Franc3 that I have at last succeeded in finding where G. P.4 is buried. I have talked to a woman who has seen the cross on his grave with his name upon it, and his grave is properly and clearly registered here in Paris2 in the books of "The Society for the Care of the American Dead."

He is registered:
2nd Lieut Grosvenor P. Cather
(Inf.) I.R.C. Att. Co. A. 26th Inf.

Location of Grave
Villiers Tournelle5
Grave No. 2. Plot B.

I copy the above exactly. He is therefore buried in the American Military Cemetary of VILLERS TOURNELLE, which is about ten miles from Cantigny6, and is in plot B, among the very first who fell. The bodies of the men who fell at Cantigny were taken up within a few weeks after they were first buried, placed in coffins and taken to Villiers Tournelle while that section was still under fire. The bodies had been wrapped in tarpaulin and blankets, each marked with his name and company, and the coffins were marked from that data, and each was carefully registered,—so there can be no mistake. G. P. is unquestionably buried in grave 2, plot B.

I shall go to the cemetary7 next week and take a photograph of the grave8 for Aunt Franc. I had made all arrangements to go yesterday, but the heavy rains in that part of the country have made the roads impassable. Isabelle9 is going with me, as it is a hard trip. I leave Paris at 6 oclock in the morning and go to Montdidier10 (MONTDIDIER) It is not far, but there are two changes of cars and long waits, before one gets there and only one train a day. A At Montdidier I will have to hire an automobile to take me to Cantigny and from there on to the Cemetary at Villier Tournelle. There are no hotels in that devestated region, but a French woman belonging to the Society of French Homes11 will keep us over night. This beautiful Society tries tries to help Americans hunting for dead soldiers in every possible way. I enclose their letter which you will please give to Aunt Franc. After I have been to the cemetary and photographed the grave I will write to her. I know she will be glad to know that G. P. is lying in a cemetary , with a cross on his grave and his name on the cross. When I last saw her she thought he must be ly lying somewhere out in No Man's Land12. In the registry here in Paris, under the number of his grave and his name and rank, there is added "Killed in action at Cantigny." His name on his cross is painted "CAChER", but it is correct in the registry, and I will have the spelling corrected on the cross when I go up there. "The Society for American Dead" have given me authorization to do so, [illegible]in order to make the name on the grave as it is in the Register. I want to do this because I feel it would be some satisfaction to Aunt Franc, and because it is all one can do to show one's appreciation of a kinsman who was a brave soldier. If I were buried in France, I would want my relatives to to come to see me if they were in this part of the world.

Goodbye now, dearest Father. I am well and am very happy to have Isabelle and Jan13 here. I am beginning to be a little homesick from time to time, and I shall not be sorry to turn away from all this beauty and from this wonderful people and face the West, toward the people and the country that are my own.

With a great deal of love to you and Mother14 and to Aunt Franc, Willie