Cadet William Joseph King

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 Wiliam Joseph King

William Joseph King was born in late 1892/early 1893 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Little is known about his family or his early life. On 4 January 1916, he married Josephine Freeman at the Borough Hall in Brooklyn, New York. His wife was a professional singer, who performed under the name ‘Dolly Grey’.[1] King worked as a car salesman in New York, while his wife pursued her stage career in the United States and in South America.

Josephine King aka ‘Dolly Grey’, 1917

King enlisted into the Royal Flying Corps as a cadet in Toronto on 24 September 1917. After his ground training at No.4 School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Toronto, he travelled to Texas where he learned to fly. Continue reading

Second Lieutenant Arnold Whittier Hill

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

Arnold Whittier Hill

Arnold Whittier Hill was born in Malden, Massachusetts on 13 June 1897, the only son and eldest child of Arthur and Josephine Hill.[1] He attended school in Malden, where he demonstrated an early interest in flying.

He volunteered in Boston for service with the Royal Flying Corps and enlisted in Toronto on 4 January 1918. After attendance at No. 4 School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Toronto, he travelled to Texas where he learned to fly. Transferred to the Royal Air Force upon its formation on 1 April 1918, he was commissioned on 27 June. Hill was selected for training as an instructor and posted to the School of Special Flying at Armour Heights in Toronto. On 13 July 1918, he was flying Curtis JN4, registration C374, at Leaside Aerodrome, in southern Toronto, when he stalled in a turn and his aircraft fell from 800 feet. He was killed on impact and the aircraft was engulfed in flames. Continue reading

Second Lieutenant Ralph Michael Cummings

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

Ralph Michael Cummings

Second Lieutenant Ralph Michael Cummings was typical of the young men who volunteered to fly with the Royal Flying Corps, only to be killed during training.

He was born on 15 December 1894 at Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, the eldest son of Michael and Minnie Cummings.[1] The family emigrated to Massachusetts in 1895, where a second son was born. Ralph Cummings became a naturalised citizen of the United States in 1913. Prior to his enlistment, he lived in West Bridgewater and work as a salesman for R. H. Stearns & Co. Continue reading

Second Lieutenant George Albert Ruffridge

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

The grave of Albert Ruffridge

George Albert Ruffridge (known as Albert) was born on 21 December 1892 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the second of the two sons of George and Hattie Ruffridge who moved with the family to Montclair, New Jersey sometime in the first decade of the new century.[1]

Second Lieutenant Albert Ruffridge

Like his father, Ruffridge worked as a salesman before he enlisted in Toronto on 21 November 1917 into the Royal Flying Corps for training as a pilot (152810 Cadet). After completing his initial training in Toronto and Texas, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 6 April 1918, five days after the formation of the Royal Air Force, and joined No. 80 Canadian Training Squadron at Camp Bordon to complete his gunnery training. Continue reading

Second Lieutenant Evanda Berkeley Garnett

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

Second Lieutenant Evanda Berkeley Garnett
Second Lieutenant Evanda Berkeley Garnett

Not all of the casualties buried in the United States were repatriated in the period immediately after the First World War. Second Lieutenant Evanda Berkeley Garnett was killed in an air crash in Lincolnshire on 27 January 1918. Over 40 years later, on 16 September 1959, his sister Caroline called at the United States Embassy in London in order to arrange for the disinterment of his ashes and their return from Lincolnshire to Rhode Island. She believed, incorrectly, that the remains of the other airman killed in the crash had been repatriated previously and stated that it was the family’s intention to bring Evanda Garnett home too. His ashes were duly exhumed and sent to the United States where they were reinterred in the family plot in Island Cemetery, Newport.[1] Continue reading

Cadet James Austin Byrnes

Cadet James Byrnes was an American, living in New York, who enlisted in 1918 for service with the Royal Air Force. He was killed in a flying accident in Canada in June 1918.

The grave of Cadet James Byrnes
The grave of Cadet James Byrnes

James Austin Byrnes was born in Chicago, Illinois on 6 October 1893, the second of the six children of Robert and Margaret Byrnes.[1] His parents were English-born of Irish ancestry; they emigrated to the United States in 1889 and settled in Chicago. Early in the new century, the family moved to New York, where they lived on Eagle Avenue. His father was a machinery inspector for the railroad; James became a railroad linesman and worked for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company—the operator of the New York subway. Continue reading

Cadet Samuel Walter Arnheim

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

When deeds of valor are done on the battlefield
we do not look to see whether a man is Jew, Protestant or Catholic…’‘ [1]

Major General John F. O’Ryan[2]

The Arnheim-Zorkowski Mausoleum in Beth Olam Cemetery
The Arnheim-Zorkowski Mausoleum in Beth Olam Cemetery
Marks Arnheim
Marks Arnheim

Samuel Walter Arnheim was born in New York on 21 April 1889 into a wealthy Jewish family, the only son and youngest of the three children of Marks and Fannie Arnheim.[3] His father was born in Berlin and had arrived in the United States as a child. He travelled the United States and the West as a young man before returning to New York, where he established a tailoring business in 1877 in ‘Little Germany’ in the Bowery. He became a US citizen in 1881. The business flourished and in 1892 he moved to a large building on the corner of Broadway and Ninth Street; it became one of the most prominent tailors in the city and during the war, in addition to high quality men’s suits, made uniforms for Army and Navy officers. Samuel’s mother, from Connecticut, also had a German father. Continue reading