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Eugene Van Lantschoot letter and missing in World War 1

The Daily Times Wednesday August 21th 1918 Moline, Illinois

Eugene Lantschoot of 412 Thirteenth street, Moline is reported missing in action in todays casualty list.
He is the only son of Mr and Mrs Aime Van Lantschoot of this city. The mother had not been apprised by the war department previous to the appearance of the reporters at the home this morning. The last letter she received from him was dated July 9, and in it he states that he is feeling well, but had not then been in action. It is a description of his trip across the Atlantic, which occupied 19 days. A short letter dated earlier tells of his desire to bag a few Germans.

Eugene Van Lantschoot missing soldierHe was employed when in Moline at the Cooper Saddlery.

His Boat Sunk
In the letter here printed, Lantschoot tells of being on a boat that was sunk by a submarine, resulting in the loss of 53 men. He describes scenes at the front.

The letter
Dear parents:
With this letter I let you know I am in very good health. I send love to you and my sisters. I have very little news to tell you. We were nineteen days on the ocean, but we have been very lucky. I went by the way of Canada and embarked on a boat at Halifax. The boat I was on was sunk by a submarine and there were fifty-three men drowned. I was one of those that were saved.

I have been all over France and we have everything we need, food, clothing, etc and I am feeling fine. I have not been fighting yet but it won't be long. I have been at the front making trenches.

After the boat was torpedoed by the submarine it did not sink for an hour after and went five miles further before it sunk. Our whole regiment is here now, the other half coming two weeks later than we did. Those of the other half of the regiment tell me that they sank four German submarines on the way over. $aw the remains in the water. There are only six Belgians in our regiment and we participated in the review at Paris. (Probably this was the 4th of July), The city was beautifully decorated with flowers, flags, etc. I saw the Belgian king and queen there. I have the finest time I ever had in my life. I was off duty from 1 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day, and the girls were just crazy about the American soldiers, we just had to drive them away they were so thick, so you can imagine what a good time we had. I am having a Belgian fellow soldier write this for me. I am very anxious to get at the Germans. I have a very good record so far. I have no demertits and have enlisted as a first class soldier. Expect to be called to the front in two or three days to do some fighting, have not been there yet. You can rely on it I will do my very best and I hope God will give us good luck to win the war so we can see each other again and celebrate in Moline. The impression around here seems to be that the war will not last long, It is reported that it will be over in 4 months. I have not much more news. Will write after I have been in the battle. We are now on the French front but I would like to go to the Belgian front, but this seems to be impossible as there is no part of the American army there. After the war is over I am going to ask for a furtlough to go to Belgium ad visit some relatives before I come back. Do not send me money or anything. I have everything I want.
Dear sister: Please send me your picture and we will have a picture taken here and send you one.
With love, your son EUGENE.

Eugene was born as Eugene Van de Moere on Dec. 11 1894 in Watervliet, Belgium son of Emiel and Victorine Ruebens. Emiel died the following year in November 1894. Victorine married Aime Van Lantschoot in 1896 and adopted Eugene, who became Eugene Van Lantschoot. 2 daughters were born to this union: Adriana and Antoinette and the 5 of them emigrated in 1906 to Moline, Illinois. After the war in early 1920 he changed his name to his original name "Eugene Vandemoere" and setled in South Bend, Indiana, later he moved to California..