|Date of Birth||June 29, 1895|
|Place of Birth||Chicago, Illinois|
|Next of Kin||Nellie Blaha (mother), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||American Expeditionary Forces|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 18, 1956|
|Age at Death||60|
|Buried At||Forest Hill Memorial Park, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
Sergeant Frank Peter Dostal enlisted in Kenora, Ontario in February 1916 and served in Canada for six months. In 1917 he joined the American Expeditionary Forces and he spent two years overseas, returning home in August 1919.
Frank was born on 29 June 1895 in Chicago, Illinois. His father Joseph Dostal was from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) and his mother Nellie grew up in Wisconsin. They were married in 1886 in Racine, Wisconsin and Frank was the youngest of their three children. When the 1900 census was taken the family was living in Chicago and Joseph was working as a butcher. He passed away in Chicago in 1909, when Frank was 14 years old. Nellie moved to Canada and by 1911 she was living in Kenora, Ontario with her second husband Frank Blaha.
Frank Peter enlisted in Kenora on 12 February 1916, joining the 94th Overseas Battalion. He was 20 years old, working as a labourer and next of kin was his mother Mrs. Nellie Blaha. Six weeks later, on 1 April, he was transferred to the 212th Battalion in Winnipeg. After six weeks with them he was transferred again, this time to the 97th (American Legion) Battalion. He joined the 97th in mid-May but when the unit headed overseas in September Frank wasn’t with them. He had left the service at the end of August and returned to the U.S.
The Americans entered the war in April 1917 and Frank enlisted in Iowa on 12 July. He joined the 23rd Infantry Regiment, which was in the 2nd Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. His unit arrived in France in the fall of 1917 and trained with the French army over the winter. In 1918 they took part in six major operations. Frank was promoted to Sergeant in October 1918 and he was awarded the Purple Heart (for wounds received) and the Silver Star (for gallantry in action). The 23rd Regiment returned to the U.S. on 4 August 1919 and the troops took part in a large 2nd Division parade in New York. Frank received his honourable discharge on 19 August. His brother Joseph also enlisted and he served with the 25th Battalion, U.S. Guards.
After the war Frank returned to Wisconsin, where his mother’s family lived. When the 1930 census was taken he was married, living in Racine and working as a gas salesman. His wife Frieda (née Schwager) was born in Wisconsin in 1895 and she had five daughters from a previous marriage, aged from 3 to 15. Frank and Frieda had one child, their son Frank Joseph who was born in June 1930. By 1935 they had moved to South Milwaukee and Frank was working in the oil industry. In 1941 he founded his own firm, Dostal Oil Company. He was a member of the American Legion and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). His son served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.
Frank passed away at the veterans hospital in Milwaukee on 18 March 1956, at age 60. He was given a military funeral by the Legion and laid to rest in Forest Hill Memorial Park. His son Frank Joseph (1930-2005) and his brother Joseph (1889-1959) are also buried at Forest Hill.
By Becky Johnson
Photo of Frank provided by Lake of the Woods Museum; grave marker photo courtesy of Carla Magnus on findagrave.com.