Project Update – October 2019

The pressure of another project with an impending deadline has kept me from adding as many biographies as I would have liked but behind the scenes there has been significant progress recently in correcting the errors on the online commemorations and on incorrectly inscribed gravestones maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the First World War casualties buried in the United States.

Here is what we have achieved:

Lieutenant Louis Bennett Jr.

Lieutenant Louis Bennett Jr. was killed in action while flying with No. 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force. His remains were reinterred in Machpelah Cemetery, Weston, West Virginia on 14 April 1920 alongside his father. His mother was buried beside them in 1944. For many years Bennett had been commemorated incorrectly as having been killed on 7 October 1918. This had been challenged previously but a ruling by the Royal Air Force’s Air Historical Branch in 1995 resulted in this error being maintained until challenged again in 2019 using, primarily, the evidence presented in the thesis by Dr. Charles D. Dusch’s, who also wrote the piece for the project. The CWGC commemoration now reflects the correct date of death.

Leading Seaman Sam Gordon Wills

New gravestones with corrected details have now been placed for the following men: Leading Seaman Sam Gordon Wills and Fireman Low On in Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York and Private Bert Lancelot Brennen in Lincoln Memorial Park, Portland, Oregon. Additionally, in Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn several errors with the installation of new headstones have been resolved, in particular the move of that for Trimmer Percy Samuel Tomas Hyett to the correct spot alongside Trimmer Walter John Joseph Bowles.

A particular triumph is the correction of the name of the Chinese seaman Low On, who died of wounds two months after a torpedo attack on his ship in August 1918. He had until recently been commemorated as ‘Ou Loo’.

One new man has been added to the project: Private Leslie Worthington, Australian General Service Reinforcements, who died on 12 June 1918 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

In addition, the Commission has discovered that Private Morris Weiner, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), who died on 20 January 1920, is buried in Mount Judah Cemetery, Ridgewood, New York and not, as previously recorded, in Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale.

The grave marker for Corporal John Henry Dorman, United States Army

Finally, it has been determined that Corporal John Henry Dorman—who died in an accident on 21 June 1918 at RAF Lake Down near Amesbury and whose remains were reinterred in Mount Hope Cemetery, Belleville, Illinois—was not an Imperial casualty but, in fact, was a member of the Aviation Section of the United States Army Signal Corps serving with 155th Aero Squadron. A case has been put to the Commission for the removal of his commemoration.


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