Private Albert Moore Downs

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 Albert Moore Downs

Albert Moore Downs (several records show his name as Albion) was born on 20 July 1873 in Maine (although he declared on his enlistment that he was born in Head Millstream, Kings County, New Brunswick). He was married with two daughters and prior to his enlistment he worked as a carpenter.[1]

He enlisted in New Brunswick on 2 March 1917 and joined No. 16 Canadian Field Ambulance (536452 Private), which was being raised in Saint John. The unit sailed from Halifax on 28 March 1917 aboard the RMS Saxonia and arrived in England on 7 April 1917. It served in England with 5th Canadian Division until the division was broken up in early 1918 and the medical personnel were despatched to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Depot at Shorncliffe. Downs was then posted to France to No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, where he arrived in April 1918.

Downs fell ill and was evacuated to the United Kingdom and admitted to New End Military Hospital at Hampstead on 1 September 1918. Diagnosed as suffering from dysentery, he was treated at No. 16 Canadian General Hospital at Taplow in Buckinghamshire. He was finally  admitted to the Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom on 6 January 1919 and discharged nine days later.[2] He was sent to the Canadian Depot at Witley in Surrey but then returned to hospital where he remained until sent back to Canada in July 1919. He arrived in Montreal on 4 August and was demobilised on 8 August 1919.

Downs was subsequently diagnosed with cancer of the stomach, which was considered attributable to his war service, and he died in United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 36 in Boston on 11 June 1921, aged 47. He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts on 14 June. The grave is on Myosotis Path between Larch Path and Fir Avenue.

For his war service he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-1920 and the Victory Medal. His medals, memorial plaque and scroll, and Memorial Cross were sent to his widow. Private Alfred Moore Downs is commemorated on page 556 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 28 November.

1. (Back) Albert Moore Downs (his marriage record shows his name as Albion) married Annie Blanche Chapman (c1883-1949) on 22 June 1907 in Chelsea, Massachusetts: Jennie Abby (c1911-NK); Donna M. (1913-NK).

2. (Back) Coincidentally, one of the original rooms from Woodcote Park may be seen in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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