Who were the Cronin Brothers?

- 9/23/2016

During World War I, two brothers from Lincoln, Illinois, Peter Thomas Cronin and Edward Franklin Cronin, served  in the United States Army by way of the Illinois National Guard.
Peter was a Private in the 139th Infantry Regiment, 35th Division. The 35th division was organized in August 1917 as a National Guard formation with troops from Illinois, Kansas and Missouri, after a few months as the 14th Division. It consisted of the 69th Infantry Brigade (137th and 138th Infantry Regiments) and the 70th Infantry Brigade (139th and 140th Infantry Regiments). The 35th Division went overseas in May 1918. Upon arrival in France the Divisoin was garrisoned near the front in Alsace and received limited training from the French Army. In June of 1918 The Division was moved to the Argonne Forest area for combat operations in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On September 26, the Americans began their strike towards Sedan in the south and the "Big Offensive" began. Peter Thomas Cronin was killed in action in the opening acts of that battle on Sept. 26th, 1918.

Edward was a Private in the 130th Infantry Regiment, 33rd Division. The 33rd Infantry Division was a National Guard division for the State of Illinois. The 33rd trained at Camp Logan in Houston, TX from September of 1917 until May of 1918 at which time the unit was shipped overseas to France. Upon arrival in France, the unit was first sent to the Huppy area near Abbeville until June 9th at which time they were sent to the Eu training area. On June 20th and 21st the Division was moved into the Amiens Sector where they occupied portions of the British trenches and participated in many operations. In October the 33rd was involved in heavy fighting on the Meuse River in the Argonne Forest and gained a large amount of ground that was previously taken by German Shock Troops. Under overwhelming heavy artillery, machine gun, air and gas attacks they held their ground until relieved by the 66th Division on October 15th. Sadly, a second Cronin brother had been killed in action in the same battle area as before. Edward was killed in action on October 13th, 1917 a mere 17 days after his brother.

Lincoln lost two true American Heroes that Autumn of 1918 and to honor the memory of Peter and Edward Cronin the "Cronin Brothers Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1756" was chartered on November 6th, 1929 and still proudly carries on the tradition of service and sacrifice to the community and the nation.