Empire Ford photo.

Empire Ford of New Bedford’s “Veteran of the Month”: Walter Goulart, K.I.A. in WWI

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“During the month of April, the 55th Lights for Peace flag to fly at the Fort Taber – Fort Rodman Military Museum honors the memory PVT Walter Goulart of New Bedford who was Killed in Action on October 17, 1918, during the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, just one month before the end of the war.

Goulart was born in New Bedford to Azorean immigrants Antone and Frances (Perry) Goulart on February 1, 1895. He lived at 142 Fair Street and attended local New Bedford schools, later working in the New Bedford mills.

Some sources say that Goulart was inducted into the Army while others say he enlisted on September 20, 1917 at the age of 22. Goulart was first stationed at Fort Devens, MA and went on to receive his infantry training at Fort Gordon, GA. He was initially assigned to Company D of the 302nd Infantry, 76th Division until November 12, 1917 and was then transferred to the Machine Gun Company of the 327th Infantry, 82nd Division.


Empire Ford photo.

On April 29, 1918, PVT Goulart was sent overseas to France. He served in a series of battles with the Allied Forces including the following engagements: St. Mihiel; Marbache Defensive Sector (Lorraine) Aug. 6 – Aug. 17; Lucey Defensive Sector (Lorraine) Aug. 28 to Sept. 11, Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

According to a story published in the SouthCoastToday.com, “A German sniper shot and killed Goulart on Oct. 7, 19l8 near Châtel Chéhéry. He died in an important battle in the opening phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one of World War I’s final campaigns. The 327th Infantry was trying to retake the initiative after having slowed down in the face of strong German resistance. It took over the entire sector two days after he died.” Sadly, Goulart died only a month before the end of the war.

According to Archives.gov, “The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest operation of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, with over a million American soldiers participating. It was also the deadliest campaign in American history, resulting in over 26,000 soldiers being killed in action (KIA) and over 120,000 total casualties.”

Walter Goulart became the first New Bedford serviceman of Portuguese descent to be killed in action during World War I. The article stated that other soldiers of Azorean descent had died earlier than he did, but they had died of disease while still in training camps.

Following Goulart’s death, the Portuguese-American community in New Bedford built a memorial in his honor named Goulart Square, located at Rivet and Bolton Streets. The memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day on May 30, 1923 and then re-dedicated on May 26, 1997.

PVT Goulart was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrifice to his country.

Linda Ferreira, of Empire Ford, researches the life histories of area residents. American flags are provided by Empire Ford. Flags are raised by the staff at Fort Taber – Fort Rodman Military Museum. Those who would like to honor a local veteran in the future can contact Ferreira at lferreira@empirefordinc.com.”

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Empire Ford of New Bedford

395 Mt. Pleasant Street,
New Bedford, Massachusetts

Phone: (833) 974-0098
Email: kmathias@empirehyundai.com

Website: empirefordofnewbedford.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/Empirefordnewbedford

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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