Knights of Columbus

War Activities


224th Aero Squadron

Kelly Field

Feb. 6, 1918


Dear Mrs. Newcomer,

Since writing you last night, I have learned definitely what ailed Dan. He not only had measles and pneumonia, but a bad case of appendicitice (sic). I was told that there were other complications besides pneumonia when I was at Hospital, but could not learn definitely what these complications were.  Lieut. Lyons, our Commanding officer, obtained this information today.

As well as I could learn, Dan did not leave a message; he was intirely (sic) too sick. I can now understand why he was constipated most of time and had to take remedies.

I believe that everything was done for him that could have been done under the prevailing conditions existing in any Army camp. Of course, the treatment and attention is not what we would expect to obtain at John (sic) Hopkins.

The packages did not arrive here before Dan leaving for hospital. And most of them which had been sent over to hospital were returned here with his personal effects these things were sent back yesterday,

Sincerely Your Friend,

Douglass Awick

While exploring on Ancestry.com, I found the death certificate pictured. This news, that Danny died from peritonitis caused by appendicitis, is surprising.  First, his condition had been described up until this time as measles which became complicated by pneumonia. Peritonitis is a bacterial infection of the abdominal wall that can the spread through the bloodstream.  If related to appendicitis, peritonitis would be caused by the bursting of the appendix resulting in the spread of bacteria. Yet Dan’s condition had been described as peaceful; there is no indication of acute pain that would be associated with a burst appendix. We may never know what actually happened.