Private Eugene C. Daly

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 Eugene C. Daly

Eugene Daly was born in Massachusetts on 14 June 1879, the eldest of the six children of an Irish immigrant father and a Canadian mother.[1] After leaving school he worked as a painter before he enlisted on 4 May 1898 for service in the Spanish American War. He joined Company ‘A’, 9th Massachusetts Infantry, and served in Cuba. The Regiment returned to the United States in August 1898 and Daly was discharged on 26 November. He then found work as a filing clerk before enlisting into the United States Army. He served two periods of enlistment from 12 October 1907 to 11 October 1910 and from October 1910 to 6 June 1912, when he was discharged ‘without honor’. The records indicate that his first period of service was with the Hospital Corps at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and that the second was with Company ‘C’, 7th Cavalry at Fort William McKinley in the Philippines. In March 1917 Daly was admitted to the recently opened National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Maine suffering from a range of ailments including chronic gastritis and chronic rheumatoid arthritis; he was discharged three months later.

He enlisted on 27 March 1918 at Montreal (giving his place of birth as Ireland and taking a year off his age) and joined the 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Quebec Regiment where he was allocated the number 3083106. He was soon found to be suffering from ‘mania’ and declared medically unfit for service; he was discharged on 30 June 1918 and transferred to an asylum for treatment under the control of the Invalided Soldiers Commission.[2]

Daly was admitted to St. Jean de Dieu Hospital for the Insane at Longue Pointe, Montreal, where he died of pneumonia on 26 March 1921. He was buried in Mount Benedict Roman Catholic Cemetery, West Roxbury alongside his parents and, later, his siblings. Although recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being in Section L, Range 8, Grave 4, the Daly family plot (comprising Graves 3 and 4) is, in fact, in Range 9. Section L is in the south-eastern part of the cemetery adjacent to the boundary. Due to his date of death, he is not commemorated in the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance. His brother Jerome served during the First World War and for 15 months in the Second World War with the United States Navy.

1. (Back) Eugene Daly (November 1847-16 March 1914) married Catherine Kennedy (March 1852-December 1916) in Lynn, Massachusetts on 31 August 1879: Elizabeth M. (2 November 1881-October 1966), William Bartholomew (9 October 1887-NK), Catherine (later Crimmins) (7 June 1890-10 January 1976), Francis Joseph (31 December 1891-NK), and Jerome William (26 April 1894-25 July 1990).

2. (Back) The Invalided Soldiers Commission was part of the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-Establishment. Upon discharge all officers and soldiers passed to the control of the Commission if they required ‘medical treatment on account of their suffering from tuberculosis, epilepsy, paralysis or other diseases likely to be of long duration or incurable, or on account of their being mentally deficient or insane’. See: Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-Establishment. (May 1918). Report of the Work of the Invalided Soldiers’ Commission. Ottawa: J De L Taché.

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