Cadet Kenneth MacDonald Kearney

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

The grave of Kenneth MacDonald Kearney
The grave of Kenneth MacDonald Kearney

Cadet Kenneth Kearney served briefly with the Royal Flying Corps in early 1918 before succumbing with pneumonia in Toronto during his initial training. He was born on 25 March 1894 in New Haven, Connecticut.[1] His father was born in New York of Irish parents; his mother was also born in New York but of Scottish parents; he was their only child.

He attended New Haven High School and, briefly, Columbia University (Phi Sigma Kappa). Afterwards he entered a series of clerical and stenographer positions. In September 1912, he married Emma Brown in Bridgeport but in 1917 the couple were divorced.

Kenneth Kearney enlisted in Toronto on 4 January 1918 for training as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps; he was allocated the number 153846. In late January, while undertaking his basic military training at the Cadet Wing at Camp Borden, Toronto, he fell ill. He was treated for eight days at Toronto base hospital, where he died of nephritis and pneumonia on 2 February. His remains were sent home and he was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven in the MacDonald family plot. His grave is alongside Pine Avenue (Plot 656, Grave 1) at its western end. His mother is also buried there and the family plot is marked by a large obelisk.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Cadet Kenneth MacDonald Kearney
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Cadet Kenneth MacDonald Kearney

Cadet Kenneth Kearney is commemorated on page 589 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 20 December. He is commemorated on the memorial flagpole at New Haven green. He is also commemorated in the Class of 1919 yearbook of New Haven High School, and in the June 1919 edition of the journal of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.[2]


Acknowledgment:
Jeanne B. Insalaco at Everyone has a Story for the photographs of the war memorial on New Haven green.


1. (Back) William H. Kearney (October 1858-NK) married Katherine E. MacDonald (August 1857-24 January 1920) on 31 August 1892 in Manhattan, New York.
2. (Back) ‘We are the Dead.’ (June 1919). The Signet. Volume XI, No. 1.  p 5. Council of the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.

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