Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Medal of Honor: Ralyn M. Hill

Corporal Ralyn M. Hill was born in Lindenwood, Illinois on May 6, 1899.  He entered the service through the Illinois National Guard and lived in Abilene in his post-war years.

He served in Company H, 129th Infantry, 33rd Division.  On October 7, 1918, Hill saw a French airplane crash on the enemy side of the Meuse River.  Seeing the pilot was injured, Hill dashed across a footbridge to recover the pilot, returning him to safety despite being under constant fire.  One account also suggests he recovered secret papers from the burning plane.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Hill the postmaster of Abilene.

Hill died in Abilene on March 25, 1977, and is buried in the Abilene Cemetery.

For a little more information on Hill, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralyn_M._Hill .

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.

10 Comments

  1. Amber Pawula-Marcin

    My family recently discovered a couple of letters written by Rayln to my great-great grandmother, shortly after he became the MOH recipient. The letters were mostly referencing the death of my great-great uncle Merrill Gutshall, who was a dear friend of his, but they do contain some impressive details of his experiences. I would love to pass on some pictures of the letters to an interested person or family member.

    • Blair Tarr

      Amber, I passed your comment along to Nancy Sherbert from the Archives of the Kansas Historical Society, who indicated an interest in copies of what you have. Her e-mail is nancy.sherbert@ks.gov .

    • Adriana Schroeder

      Amber,
      I’m the command historian of the IL Nat. Guard. I am searching for family members of our MoH recipients for WWI. I am highly interested in what Rayln had to say in his letters.
      V/r,
      Adriana

    • Blair Tarr

      Amber, please see the comments below from two of Ralyn Hill’s grandsons, who are interested in the letters. Thank you!

  2. Charles R Murphy

    I am Ralyn Hill’s grandson and a combat medic in the Vietnam war. I would greatly appreciate a copy of Ralyn’s letters. I have his Medal of Honor
    Sincerely,
    Charles Murphy

    • Blair Tarr

      Charles, please see my response to Michael Murphy below. Thanks!

    • Paul Doherty

      Charles,
      During my research on the 129th Inf., Company K, I came across information about Ralyn during my visit to Luxembourg last year. After the war he spent time there.
      I can send you the info, if interested.
      Regards,
      Paul Doherty

  3. Michael Murphy

    Amber,
    I am Ralyn Hill’s oldest Grandchild. I am very interested in your letters.
    How do I contact you? Michael Murphy

    • Blair Tarr

      Michael, I understand you tried contacting the WWI Museum to get in touch with me–I’m actually in the Museum Division of the Kansas Historical Society. I’m checking to see if the Archives Division of the Historical Society ever received the letters or copies of the letters. If not, you will need to get in touch with Amber Pawula-Marcin. Thanks!

  4. Amber D Pawula-Marcin

    To everyone who wanted to see copies of the letters, I have forwarded them once again but you can email me directly at amber.pawula@gmail.com if you wish to get a copy of the letters to read.

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