Private John Paul Mantell

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Virginia.

The grave of Private John Paul Mantell
The grave of Private John Paul Mantell

There is little information available to complete the service record of Private John Paul Mantell—the little that is available is difficult to substantiate.

John Paul Mantell was born about 1882 at Bowling Green, Kentucky.[1] He was a civil engineer by profession[2] and married to Augusta (née Hageman).[3] The family lived in Venice, Los Angeles, California, where their son, John William, was born in 1915.[4]

He enlisted in New York[5]—the British recruiting office there opened in June 1917. There is no record of his service outside the United Kingdom but he may have joined the Tank Corps[6] before joining ‘C’ Company, Inns of Court Officer Training Corps on 22 February 1918 (12641, Private).[7] Prior to being commissioned, he fell ill with pneumonia in early June 1918 and he died on 9 June, aged 36, in Frensham Hill Military Hospital, four days after being admitted.[8]

Private Mantell was buried initially in Bordon Military Cemetery.

After considerable, and often bitter, debate the law allowing the repatriation of United States war dead was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The law entitled the next of kin to choose between permanent interment in an American military cemetery on foreign soil, repatriation of the remains to US soil for interment, or repatriation of the remains to the individual’s homeland or that of their next of kin.

John Paul Mantell’s remains were returned to the United States and reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 18, Grave 561) on Friday 5 November 1920.[9] The detail of this interment was only registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in February 2007. Prior to that Private Mantell had been commemorated on The Maidenhead Register.

1. (Back) London Regiment, Honourable Artillery Company Infantry, Inns of Court Officers Training Corps. (1921). Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919. Part 76. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.
2. (Back) Death Certificate. (1918). John Paul Mantell. General Register Office.
3. (Back) Soldiers’ Effects Records. (1901-60). Record 770445 – Mantell John Paul. National Army Museum, London.
4. (Back) Fourteenth Census of the United States. (1920). Venice, Los Angeles, California. Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives, Washington DC.
5. (Back) London Regiment. Op. Cit.
6. (Back) Interment Control Form. (1920). Mantell, J P. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985. The National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
7. (Back) Errington F H L (Ed). (1922). The Inns of Court Officer Training Corps During the Great War. London: Printing Craft. p 251.
8. (Back) Death Certificate. Op. Cit.
9. (Back) Interment Control Form. Op. Cit.

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