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BLOOR, ALFRED WAINWRIGHT

BLOOR, ALFRED WAINWRIGHT (1876–1952). Alfred Wainwright Bloor, Texas National Guard officer and lawyer, was born to Alfred and Martha Bloor on September 9, 1876, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had three brothers. Bloor’s father moved his family to Austin by 1880, and Bloor grew up in Travis County. He graduated from the State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University) in 1895, served as a sergeant in the First Texas Militia from 1895 until 1898, and served with Company L of the First Texas Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American War from May 11, 1898, until April 20, 1899.

After the war, he settled back in Austin, where he received his law degree from the University of Texas in 1904 and became a general practice attorney. He remained in the Texas National Guard in various positions until World War I. For example, in 1914 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Second Texas Infantry and served on the Mexican border in 1916. In 1917 he received an appointment as colonel of the Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment, a unit being raised for service in World War I. Colonel Bloor recruited the regiment throughout North and Northwest Texas. The federal government drafted the regiment into service in August 1917, and sent it to Camp Bowie, Texas, in September 1917. At Camp Bowie, the War Department merged the Seventh Texas with the First Oklahoma Infantry. The new organization became the 142nd Infantry Regiment, and Colonel Bloor retained command of the new regiment.

After training at Camp Bowie until June of 1918, Colonel Bloor led his regiment overseas to France as part of the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division. On October 8, 1918, he led his regiment into combat for the first time during the battle of St. Etienne in the Champagne region. In its first combat experience, the regiment suffered greatly, with casualties of eight officers and 111 men killed on that day. After St. Etienne, Bloor saw his regiment through the battle of Forest Ferme on October 27, 1918, in which the 142nd infantry overran German positions in under an hour and suffered casualties of eight men killed and sixteen men wounded. During the battle of Forest Ferme, Colonel Bloor’s regiment made one of the earliest known uses of Native American soldiers (members of the Choctaw tribe) to pass messages between units. After the armistice, Colonel Bloor remained in command of his regiment and in May of 1919 led it back to Camp Bowie, where the Texan and Oklahoman soldiers were demobilized. He was honored with the Croix de Guerre for his “gallantry in action.” After the war, Colonel Bloor was invited to describe his experiences to the Texas legislature and was praised by the Thirty-sixth Division’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. William R. Smith, who noted that Colonel Bloor was the only one of the four original regimental commanders in the division to hold his command throughout the war.

After the war, Bloor returned to Austin as an attorney but then decided to remain in the United States Army. He graduated from the army’s School of the Line in 1921 and the General Staff School in 1922. He then served as the Provost Marshall of Fort Sam Houston and spent time as a military attaché to several foreign countries. He served on the army’s General Staff in Washington, D.C., and retired from the army in 1940. He then returned to Austin and practiced law with his younger brother Bertram (who also served with him in World War I). Colonel Bloor was married to Lucile Manor; they had no children. While planning a trip to visit Europe with his wife, Bloor died in Austin on July 3, 1952. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Gregory W. Ball, Soldier Boys of Texas: The Seventh Texas Infantry in World War I (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, 2010). C.H. Barnes, History of the 142nd Infantry of the Thirty-Sixth Division: October 15, 1917, to June 17, 1919 (Blackwell Job Printing Company, 1922). Capt. Ben H. Chastaine, Story of the 36th: The Experiences of the 36th Division in the World War (Oklahoma City: Harlow Publishing Co., 1920). Lonnie J. White, Panthers to Arrowheads: the 36th (Texas-Oklahoma) Division in World War I (Austin: Presidial Press, 1984).

Gregory W. Ball

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Gregory W. Ball, "BLOOR, ALFRED WAINWRIGHT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbl75), accessed November 26, 2014. Uploaded on April 1, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.