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Morris Frock's medals come home

July 25, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The process that brought Morris Frock's medals to the American Legion post named after him started with a curious e-mail.

Six months ago, Kevin Moriarty, a new Hagerstown resident, noticed a small plaque dedicated to Frock at the corner of May Street and Belview Avenue. He contacted Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 in Hagerstown and asked for more details.

One connection led to another, and Moriarty ended up talking, by e-mail, to Norvel T. Frock Jr., Morris Frock's nephew in Philadelphia.

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On Saturday night, Norvel Frock donated medals his uncle earned for serving during World War I to the post. He also gave the post some "gold star" mementos - symbolic of a mother whose child died in combat.

Morris Frock was 19 years old when he was killed in France on June 12, 1918. He is recognized as the first Washington County man to die in battle during World War I.

Norvel Frock said Saturday that the artifacts he had had been in a drawer and would be better off with the post.

"I present (these) with heartfelt thanks and hope they'll be able to be displayed in a proper place," he said.

The artifacts included: an American freedom medal, a French cross, a Pilgrimage badge Minnie Frock wore when she visited her son's grave, a Gold Star Mother badge and a Gold Star Mother flag.

The Pilgrimage badge was in a thin case that also contained a newspaper article from the time. It read: "A letter was reecived (sic) at Hagerstown by Miss Violet Randall from Corporal Joseph Henry giving details of the death of Morris E. Frock, a United States Marine, the first Washington County man to be killed in action in France.

"Henry wrote that he was with Frock at the time he was killed and that his death was caused by shrapnel. Henry said he was proud of the fact that he has already several dead boches (slang for German soldiers) to his credit and hopes to get more in retaliation for the death of his friend Frock."

Frock served with the 43rd Company, 5th Regiment, of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Morning Herald's report of Frock's death on June 26, 1918, said: "Young Frock was killed in France while doing his duty in France in fighting against the Kaiser and for the downfall of imperialism and the establishment of democracy, and, while the news was, of course, distressing to the family, yet, his family and friends and the county which he represents justly feel proud of him."

Moriarty reached the post by e-mails in January after finding its Web site, which went up just a month earlier.

"I believe things happen for a reason," said Frank Getz, the post's historian.

Guests at Saturday's dinner were asked to wish good thoughts for Norvel T. Frock's son, Staff Sgt. Timothy H. Frock Sr., who is serving in Iraq.

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