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Biography of John Zhanel

Ennis, Texas

John Zhanel was a private in the United States Army. He enlisted in the army in the early months of 1917, and was sent to Fort Sam Houston for training. Fort Sam Houston was adjacent to Camp Travis, and northeast of downtown San Antonio. He was assigned to Company D, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, and appointed bugler.

General John Joseph Pershing had been appointed Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary  Force in France, and in June of 1917 American troops led by Pershing, which included Zhanel, landed in France. 

Private Zhanel fought at Meuse-Argonne northwest of Verdun in the final weeks of World War I. The final push against the Hindenburg line began on November 1 and ended on the 10th, and brought about the final breakdown of German resistance leading to the armistice, which was granted on November 11, 1918. But on November 2, Private Zhanel had been killed in action.

John Zhanel was born in Austria-Hungary in the town of Brezuvky in Moravia. His family immigrated to the United States in 1901, and settled in the community of Creechville east of Ennis in Ellis County, Texas. He became a naturalized citizen at the age of 13.

He is listed on the Memorial Monument to Ennis War Dead and the Ellis County Veterans Memorial.

Jack Lummus Memorial Park   Ellis County Veterans Memorial

The picture and text is courtesy of Perry Giles, Giles Monument Company, Waxahachie, Texas.

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