Douglas Milford Lyons:

Letters Home

These letters were written during World War I, from Douglas Milford Lyons to his parents Tom and Ida Clara Champion Lyons. Doug was born on November 27, 1891 and died on October 12, 1918. He was born in Tharpe, Tennessee and was a teacher in Stewart County, before joining the Army. After his death, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (one step below the Medal of Honor), and the Dover American Legion Post was named after him. Doug is buried at Fort Donelson.

Transcriptions of these letters were donated to the site by kinswoman, Debbie Champion, . Originals are preserved at the Tennessee State Archives.


July 29, 1918

Dearest Mother,

I wrote you yesterday but must write again today. Just to let you know that I am well and seeing the beautiful sights of Paris, France. I have just arrived after being on the road for two days and nights. There is no use of me trying to tell you of the things I see here for that would be impossible but guess I can or will be able to when I return home. I have been traveling by R. R. and come about 100 miles down the river Seine and must say it was a trip to be remembered. I am here for three hours and then will go about 180 miles further. I have not much time to write for I must look around a bit so I will close with love to all. I am,

Douglas M. Lyons



August 10, 1918

Dear Parents:

I will perform my weekly duty by writing you. I so not get many spare hours here to write but always find time to write you two. I rec'd the letter of June 25 and guess I have read it about one dozen times. That is the only letter I have rec'd. in two months. I am sure you are writing me but I don't get them. You spoke of sending me the Dover paper. You know I would give $10.00 per week for it. I would get all of the news then. If you don't send the paper send clippings that would be of interest. What ever became of Lynn and Tandy? We left them at camp. I heard that Jim Williams died. If you know write and tell me.

I am going to church in the morning, if nothing happens.

This is a quiet strip of country down here you don't hear any guns, but those that are fired on the range.The city I am close to is one of natl'. I has a high wall around it and all kinds of fortifications. I can't begin to tell you of how it looks. It is worth most any amount to see how things are arranged and how beautiful.

I do not want you to mention to any one bout me being at this school. I am going to work hard and try to make good. I am so glad that Mr. Gorham has obeyed the gospel. Is Kennedy over here? Send me his address, if you can. I sure would like to have your pictures send them to me.

I am going to visit a museum tomorrow. I guess I will see some sights.Douglas M. LyonsI will close for this time. Write of all and all be good. I will try. With love,



Sept. 14, 1918

Mrs. T. M. Lyons,

Fort Henry, Tenn.

Dearest Mother,

Another week has passed since I wrote you and so far I have not missed that opportunity of writing you each week since I have been in the army, so I won't fail this week.I am feeling as good as I ever felt in my life. I am as solid as a brick and do not believe a bullet would break the hide.

I have investigated the allotment business and find it to be some what tangled info. They seem to have made some mistake when they were made out and were made out on the rong form and got them mixed up with some other business, so all of the volunteer allotments were cancelled beginning June 1st until it could be straightened out some how. I was not informed about it so we are behind. All allotments made by office are made on different principles so if I should get my commission as I think I will shortly (confidential) I would have to change it. I will try and have the $60.00 which has been taken out of my pay sent to you if not I will collect it in my final statement when I am commissioned. That is when we have a final settlement about that. I will either make another allotment or send so much to you a month myself. I will be able to send a larger amount home. Worked hard here and of course have good hopes but if the officials do not allow me what it takes to be an officer I can fight Jerry as a sgt or pvt.

Douglas M. Lyons

Army Candidate School

APO 714American E. Tr.



We have had some good lectures lately from some of our great men from the states who are over here to see us boys and help things along.

I want you to send me all the news of interest and some day soon I will write and tell you alot about France and little incidents not pretaining to war. I do not mind what is coming way of my duty I expect to do my duty as a soldier be temperate in fact, live a moral life and be a man above all. I am living quite a different life. I have read the Testament through and am continuing to read.

You would be so surprised to know how many boys read the Bible. I saw a boy last night after he had gone to bed reach under his pillow and get his Bible and read a Chapter. I thought he never had seen a Bible. So you see we are a pretty good set of boys after all, I must close with love to all.Yours,



Oct. 1st, 1918

Dear Parents,

I wonder how you all are tonight it is rather cool here and I expect that you have a fire going.

I am in the best of shape feeling good for you see you must put down another mark for Doug for today Oct. 1st I was commissioned a 2nd Lieut. of U. S. Army. I wish you both was here, I would make you salute me about one hundred times.

Gee but I felt ashamed or bashfull rather today when I put on my bars and Sam Brown belt and went down the street. The boys was saluting right and left. I did not stay out long. I made a rush for my bunk. I bought me a Sam Brown belt that cost $11.00. I am some sport.

I realize my responsibility but it is not any more dangerous than when I was a sgt. I hope and pray that I will be able to do my duty and be a real leader and a standard of good moral character to the men who will be under me. You know that I always did look at a thing a little different than most Rough Neck boys of my caliber. I mean to do my best, be kind but strict toward my men. Be respectful to all and expect them to give me the respect that is due all officers. I will trust in my creator for the rest. Keep writing me at APO 714 until I know just what my address will be. I will make arrangements for my mail to be forwarded.

Have you received the allotment yet? You should receive $45.00 or $60.00 more I could not get it in my final statement.

2nd Lieut. Douglas M. Lyons

Army Candidate School

APO 714

America E. F.

I have stopped it now for when I was commissioned I would have had to change it to another form. I thought I had just as soon send it to you. Then I will see that you will get it. So after the first month I will send you from $25.00 to $50.00 per mo.

You all be good and I will do my best. Love to the family. I am




Oct. 9th, 1918

Mr. & Mrs. T. M. Lyons

Ft. Henry, Tenn.

Dear Parents,

I will write you a few lines this a.m. of course I had much rather come over and have a chat but that is impossible.

I wish you could see where I am setting writing this letter, but you would not like my situation much for ? ? guess too much.

I have been attached to I Co. as you will see in my address. This is a fine lot of boys and the Capt. is as good a capt. as you will ever find. I am coming on fine and having a good time to be in the army. I think they must be capturing most all of the Buses and Austrians I have seen enough to make a million.

I do not know what they are going to do about the Peace old Fritz has offered but guess by the time you get this we will know.The prisoners they get now are blooming glad to get out of it. They are a dirty bunch of guys.

2nd Lieut. Douglas M. Lyons

Co. 2 114th U. S. Inf.

American E. F.


I am looking for a big bunch of mail some day soon.

I will close with the usual amt of love for one and all. You all looked just as mean as you used to. I dream of you all quite often, but never have been at home.

By By I'll never forget you



This leaf came off an old battle field.

Douglas M. Lyons

2nd Lt. U. S.A.


Doulgas Milford Lyons, died on October 12, 1918, from German machine gun fire, near Verdun, France. Just three days after his last letter home was written.

The above letters were donated to the Tennessee State Archives, by his mother, Ida Clara Champion Lyons.


Committee on Appropriations

House of Representatives

Washington, D. C.

January 25th 1919

Mrs. T. M. Lyons

Fort Henry, Tenn.

My dear Mrs. Lyons:-

I am just in receipt of the enclosed communication from the Adjutant General and regret very much to note that he confirms the death of your noble son Lieutenant Douglas M. Lyons, who died on the field of battle, for freedom and humanity on October 12, 1918. He is forever numbered among those who made the supreme sacrifice for his beloved country. However after all it is the devoted mothers who have given their sons to the cause, who are carrying the greatest weight of burden and who have given the greatest treasure this world holds.

With best wishes, I am,

Very sincerely,

Joseph W. ?

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