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History! - December 28, 2012

Q: This native of Burlington, Kan., was the first American officer killed in World War I. What’s his name?

Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons (1889-1917) was a United States Army officer in World War I, and is considered the first American officer killed in the war.

A: Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons


U.S. Army Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons is considered the first American officer killed in World War I. Fitzsimmons attended St. Mary’s College in Kansas and later graduated from the University of Kansas School Of Medicine in 1912. He was killed in a German air raid on September 4, 1917, when bombs fell on a field hospital in Calais, France. In 1920, an army hospital in Aurora, Colo., was officially renamed in his honor. A mural of Fitzsimons, by artist Jim Stukey, has been painted in the soldier’s hometown of Burlington.

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