Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Rhode Island.

The grave of Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn
The grave of Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn

Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn is one of a number of casualties who died soon after enlistment during the influenza pandemic in 1918.

He was born on 22 December 1876[1] and was a carpenter by trade. On 3 January 1912 he married Mary Lincoln. The couple lived at 938 Smithfield Avenue, Saylesville, Rhode Island; they did not have any children.[2]

Alcorn enlisted at Providence on 14 August 1918 and a few days later he joined the Canadian Engineers Training Depot at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (with William Bustin), where he was allocated the regimental number 2014364.

Six weeks later, while undergoing training, Sapper Alcorn was admitted to Montreal General Hospital on 29 September, very ill and delirious, suffering from influenza. He developed pneumonia and died at 2.00am on 2 October 1918; his death was recorded as occurring on 1 October. His remains were returned to Rhode Island and he was buried in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls. The grave—Section F, Grave 744—is located on the cemetery’s southern boundary near Pine Avenue.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Sapper Joseph Thomas Alcorn

He is commemorated on page 358 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 6 and 7 August.

1. (Back) His place of birth has not been determined; on his attestation he stated that he was born at Prince Edward Island, Canada.
2. (Back) Mary Elizabeth Alcorn (née Lincoln) (27 October 1887-after 1940) remarried (Walter R. Tilford) on 3 May 1920.

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