Runners were those soldiers who were used to carry messages back and forth in the front lines.  As that might suggest, it was a very deadly job.

One might be surprised to learn that there is a tribute to these men in the Topeka Cemetery.

Private First Class Henry Murphy Walsh was one of these runners.  There is a little confusion about his birth; the monument indicates he was born February 7, 1893, although his draft registration says 1894.  The same registration puts his birthplace as Carthage, Missouri, but the 1910 Federal census says Kansas.  At the time of the registration, he was living in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.

One fact is indisputable–his grandfather, buried in the cemetery, was Hugh Walsh, a Territorial Governor of Kansas.

Henry Walsh was serving in Company B, 361st Infantry, 91st Division, when he was killed in action, September 27, 1918, in the Battle of the Argonne.  His body remains in France, at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.

His father, Dewitt Walsh, erected this monument on the family plot in Topeka.  The monument is a tribute not only to Henry, but to all runners who lost their lives “in the service of the A.E.F.”  Henry’s father and grandfather lie on either side of the monument.

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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.