Lt. William Fitzsimons, MD

Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons, MD: Good and Faithful Servant

Alex Welborn, MLIS Assistant Librarian and Archivist

Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine

University of Kansas School of Medicine

The following is the opening paragraph from an essay written about Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons (1889–1917), an American officer in the Medical Reserve Corps, the first United States Army officer to die in World War I.

Fitzsimons, a University of Kansas alumnus and faculty member, died from wounds suffered during a German air raid on September 4, 1917, when bombs fell on Base Hospital No. 5 near Dannes-Camiers in Pas-de-Calais, France. Following his death, memorials to Fitzsimons were dedicated in Kansas City and across the country, including the renaming of Army Hospital #21 in Aurora, Colorado, to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in 1920. Through his sacrifice, William Fitzsimons wholly embodied the selfless doctor’s image and helped galvanize the nation against the atrocities of war.

To read the essay in its entirety, click here.

Lt. Fitzsimons has two monuments in the Kansas City area dedicated to his memory:
Located at 12th Street and The Paseo Boulevard is the William T. Fitzsimons Memorial Fountain, and the other is the Fitzsimons-Battenfeld Monument at Volker Boulevard and The Paseo.