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State Historical Society of Iowa
Photos from the World War I Honor Roll Project

World War I Honor Roll

When the United States entered the First World War on April 6, 1917, thousands of Iowans stepped up to support the cause, both in the trenches and at home.

By the time the war ended on November 11, 1918, the war had claimed the lives of an estimated 4,088 Iowans.

The list of Iowan casualties includes Merle Hay of Glidden, who was among the first Americans to die during the war, and Wayman Minor of Centerville, who was among the last. The first U.S. servicewoman to die during active duty in the war was Marion Crandall of Cedar Rapids.

In 1920, while memories of the war were still fresh, the Iowa Department of History and Archives asked Iowa families to send in names and photographs of the loved ones they had lost. In response, the department was flooded with names and images of Iowa servicemen and -women who were killed in action, went missing, or died of disease, wounds or accidents.

Almost 100 years later, in 2017, the State Historical Society of Iowa issued another call for names and photos to shore up the official records.

The names and faces you'll see on the display are the results of that research – and a testament to a generation of Iowans who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom.

The display is part of the historical society’s ongoing commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the country’s entrance into the Great War. 


Database and Photographs

Data and photographs made available by the State Historical Society of Iowa are for personal use only. Please contact us to request permission to republish and/or distribute casualty data, photographs or elements of the traveling display.

Follow the steps below to request a digital copy of a photo that is included in the "World War I Honor Roll" display. There is a $20.00 fee for each photo requested.

  1. Check the Honor Roll database to ensure we have a photo.
  2. Note the first name, last name and county associated with the requested photo. 
  3. Complete the photo request form.

Iowa Casualties

In 1919, a year after World War I ended, the Iowa Legislature created the Iowa War Roster Commission to compile a list of all the Iowa soldiers, sailors and Marines who served along the Mexican border and in World War I between 1916 and 1919. Accordingly, the commission published the following statistics in the Journal of the Senate on January 15, 1929:

  • 114,217 Iowans enlisted in World War I
  • 54,147 Iowans served overseas
  • 3,576 Iowans gave their lives

These numbers reflect those who entered the service from the state of Iowa.

In 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center destroyed 80% of Army records from World War I. In 2017, the State Historical Society of Iowa began a project to digitize existing collections and research Iowa's World War I casualties. The following numbers reflect the best information available at the time this display was created, in 2018, and reflect those who entered service from the state of Iowa, in addition to native Iowans who entered the service in another state or country:

  • 4,092 Iowan casualties
  • 58 Iowans were originally reported as casualties but did, in fact, survive

Of those Iowan casualties . . .

  • 3,733 served in the U.S. Army
  • 233 served in the U.S. Navy
  • 67 served in the U.S. Marines
  • 21 served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Red Cross and YMCA
  • 33 served in the Canadian Army
  • 5 served in the British Army

* Numbers updated April 11, 2019.

Casualty Definitions

A casualty, in relation to personnel, any person who is lost to his organization by reason of being declared dead, wounded, diseased, detained, captured or missing. There were five defined casualty types during World War I.

  • Killed in Action (KIA) – Those killed in combat or by means of the action of hostile forces. It includes front-line combat troops, naval, air and support troops.
  • Died of Wounds (DOW) – A person who incurred an injury by means of action of hostile forces and survived to reach a medical treatment facility and died of those injuries.
  • Died of Disease (DOD) – Any person who died of a disease during active service. Common diseases during World War I included: infectious diseases, tetanus, trench diseases and the great influenza epidemic.
  • Died of Accident (DOA) –Any person who died of an accident either overseas or in the United States. Accidents occurred during combat, in training, on furlough and while in transit. Some examples of accidents are flight training crashes, accidental shooting or explosions that were not actions of hostile forces, car crashes, drowning, and suicide.
  • Missing (M) – Any person reported missing during combat operations. They may have deserted, or may have been killed, wounded or taken prisoner.