Walter Hoefle

1894 - 1956


Their Story

On October 30, 1894, Walter Hoefle was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote that he had no middle name on his draft registration but a birth record from St. Missouri showed a middle name of Henry and Walter being born in 1893 instead of 1894.1 His parents were Theodore Adam Hoefle and Bertha Martha Reimen Schneider Hoefle. He had three brothers and two sisters.2

During World War I, Walter joined the Army as a private after registering for the draft in June of 1917.3 He enlisted in August 1918. He was living in Detroit, Michigan at the time.4 A private is the lowest enlisted rank within the Army. This is considered an entry level position for trainees to begin basic combat training. Privates duties are to follow orders from their superiors as best they can. After six months, a private is promoted to private second class.5

Walter was in the 126th Infantry -1st Division during World War I.6 The 126th Infantry was based out of Michigan. They trained at Camp Arthur, then were stationed at Camp Merritt in New Jersey. A few weeks later the 126th Infantry was sent to Europe to fight in the war.7

Walter left the Port of New York on September 3, 1918, on the ship Benalla with Company G, 335th Infantry, 84th Division.

Walter was in Europe until 1919. He came back to the United States on April 12, 1919, departing from Brest, France. He arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey on April 21. He was on board a ship called Harrisburg.8 This ship was built of steel in 1888 and named The City of Paris. City of Paris was moved to the United States in 1893 and renamed Paris. During the Spanish-American War, Paris was used as an auxiliary cruiser by the Navy in 1898. Paris was renamed Yale during this war. Yale was renamed Philadelphia while becoming a passenger service. In 1918, the United States Navy renamed Philadelphia to Harrisburg. Commander Wallace Bertholf was the commander of the ship. The Harrisburg made four trips to Europe, two trips to Liverpool, two to Brest with troops and supplies during the war. After the war, the Harrissburg made six trips to Europe to bring soldiers back home to the United States.9

Walter was discharged in June 1919.10 For his service, Walter received a Purple Heart medal and a Silver Star Medal.11 The Purple Heart is given out to military personnel who have been wounded or killed as a consequence of enemy action. A Purple Heart Medal is considered as someone “paying the ultimate price in the line of duty.”12 A Silver Star Medal is the third highest military combat award. It is awarded for bravery and courage while in action.13

In 1930, Walter was a clerk in a grocery store. He was a lodger.14 Walter passed away on May 19, 1956. He was buried in the Rock Island National Cemetery at the Rock Island Arsenal.


1 Missouri, U.S., Birth Registers, 1847-1999 –

2 1910 United States Federal Census –

3 Find a Grave. “Walter Hoefle.” March 3, 2000.

4 Page 1 WWI Draft Registration Cards – Fold3

5 Military Ranks. “Army Private.” Accessed August 2, 2022.

6 Find a Grave. “Walter Hoefle.” March 3, 2000.

7 Myers, Charles R. “The Story of the 126th Infantry Regiment.” The United States World War One Centennial Commission. Accessed August 2, 2022.

8 Ancestry. “Walter Hoefle.” 2016.

9 Naval History and Heritage Command. “Harrisburg.” July 21, 2015.

10 Hoefle, Walter in U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2019 – Fold3

11 Find a Grave. “Walter Hoefle.” March 3, 2000.

12 DeSimone, Danielle. “9 Things You Need to Know About the Purple Heart Medal.” United Service Organization. August 1, 2022.

13 United States Department of Defense. “Description of Medals.” Accessed August 2, 2022.

14 Sheet 19B Census – US Federal 1930 – Fold3