Private John Robert Collinson

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

The grave of Private John Robert Collinson

John Robert Collinson was born on 1 February 1896 in Keighley, West Yorkshire the only son and eldest of the two children of Isaac and Martha Collinson.[1] When he was eight his mother died and soon afterwards his father remarried.[2] The fate of that marriage is not known but in September 1907 Isaac Collinson emigrated alone to the United States, to Lawrence, Massachusetts. The two children lived with their maternal grandparents and then their mother’s brother in Leeds until they followed their father in November 1914; Isaac Collinson had remarried by the time of their arrival and over the next few years half-siblings were added to the family.[3] Having lived for a time in Rhode Island, the family settled in Methuen, Massachusetts. Prior to his enlistment, Collinson worked in a mill in Lawrence and he lived in Methuen with his wife, Fanny, who had also been born in Yorkshire, and their daughter.[4]

He enlisted on 23 January 1918 and joined the 249th Battalion, Canadian Infantry; he was allocated the number 1070011. The Battalion had been raised in 1917 and by the time Collinson joined it was preparing to travel to England. Continue reading

Private (Joseph) Raymond Collier

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

The grave of Private Raymond Collier

Raymond Collier was one of several men who served for only a few weeks before dying while undergoing training. A French Canadian immigrant to the United States, he enlisted on 4 May 1918 in St. Jean, New Brunswick and joined the 1st Depot Battalion, New Brunswick Regiment, where he was allocated the number 3259323. After only three-and-a-half weeks he was admitted to St. John Military Hospital on 29 May suffering from pneumonia and very severe bronchitis; after a few days’ treatment he rallied but then relapsed and died at 3.00 pm on 8 June, aged 22. Continue reading

Captain Rowland Siddons Smith OBE

The death of Captain Rowland Siddons Smith was identified when examining photographs of the grave of the single casualty commemorated in Hawaii. Although holding military rank, he is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission because he was an employee of the Colonial Office and his death was not due to enemy action.

The grave of Captain Rowland Siddons Smith OBE

Rowland Siddons Smith was born on 11 November 1867 in Bareilly, Rohilkhand (now in Uttar Pradesh), India, the only son and eldest of the seven children of Rowland and Mary Smith.[1] His father was an officer of the Bengal Staff Corps, who had served with 59th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry in the East India Company from 1852, through the Indian mutiny and, later, during the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War.[2] About 1873, Major Rowland Smith and his family returned moved to England—first to Yorkshire, where a daughter was born, and later to the Isle of Wight, where two more daughters were added. He returned to India just prior to the Second Anglo-Afghan War, during which he commanded 8th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, and after which he was invalided to England. His final daughter was born in 1881 on the Isle of Wight before the family moved to Red Hall at Bracebridge Heath near Lincoln, where Colonel Rowland Smith died suddenly on 24 July 1893. His mother subsequently settled in Caversham, Oxfordshire. Continue reading

Gunner John ‘Jack’ Cameron

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

The grave of Gunner John ‘Jack’ Cameron

Jack Cameron was born on 25 January 1885 in Glasgow, Scotland. The commonality of his name and the paucity of details in his service record preclude a detailed examination of his family or of his arrival in the United States. By the time of his enlistment in 1918 he was working as a machinist in a factory in Auburn Massachusetts, where he lived with his wife Rose; the couple had no children.[1]

He enlisted on 14 May 1918 in Montreal and began his training at 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Quebec Regiment, where he was allocated the number 3084584. He subsequently transferred to 79th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery on 13 May 1918.

On 8 October 1918, Private Cameron was admitted to the Grenadier Guards Emergency Hospital in Montreal suffering from influenza. He died of pneumonia on 16 October. His remains were returned to Massachusetts and he was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Auburn. His grave is marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone and is in Section 16 in the north-centre part of the cemetery.

The Memorial Cross, plaque and scroll were sent to his widow. He is commemorated on page 379 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 17 August.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Gunner Jack Cameron

1. (Back) John Cameron married Rose L. (surname unknown) on 31 December 1916.