Private John Burke

he badge of The Connaught Rangers

John Burke was born in Killaloe, County Clare, Ireland around 1889. Little is known of his early life other than that he emigrated to the United States sometime before the war.

In October 1914, Burke returned to the United Kingdom onboard the SS Baltic on 27 November and in January 1915 enlisted into The Connaught Rangers, probably joining the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion at Queenstown (now Cobh), where he was allocated the regimental number 5332 (he may have been a Special Reservist formerly). In April 1915, he was posted to France, where he landed on 2 May, and joined the 1st Battalion in 7th (Ferozepore) Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division in the Indian Corps. Continue reading

Captain Charles Hareward Becker

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

The grave of Charles Hereward Becker

Captain Charlie Becker was commissioned into The East Surrey Regiment in November 1915. He served in France with the 8th and 9th (Service) Battalions, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) in 36th Brigade, 12th Division. Wounded serving with the former in April 1917, he went back out to France but was sent home and placed on light duties after a short period with the latter. In July 1918, he arrived in the United States for duty as an instructor with the British War Mission at Camp Sherman near Chillicothe, Ohio. On 8 August 1918, he was killed in a motor accident, aged 21, and was buried in Grandview Cemetery, Chillicothe. His grave is in the southern part of the cemetery in Section 10, Lot 29, Grave 67.

A very detailed essay about the life of Charlie Becker is reproduced here with the permission of the author Doug Rowe.

Charles Hareward Becker

Serjeant Malcolm MacFarlane

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

Serjeant Malcolm MacFarlane

Serjeant Malcolm MacFarlane died during the influenza pandemic while serving in Philadelphia with the British and Canadian Recruiting Mission.

He was born on 20 June 1889 at Newington in Edinburgh, the youngest of the six children of James and Janet MacFarlane.[1] The family had lived in Linlithgow, where James MacFarlane worked as a grocer and where the first five children were born, before moving to Newington sometime in the 1880s. His father found work there as a stationary steam engine driver and when Malcolm left school, he went to work as a graphical draughtsman for the well-known cartographers John Bartholomew & Son Ltd. Continue reading

Captain and Brevet Major Bernard Cecil Smyth-Pigott

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

The grave of Bernard Cecil Smyth-Pigott
The grave of Bernard Cecil Smyth-Pigott

Major Smyth-Pigott played an important role in the engagement between the War Office and the arms manufacturers in the United States that were contracted to supply rifles for the British Army in 1915 and 1916.

Bernard Cecil Smyth-Pigott was born on 5 November 1884 at Brockley Hall[1] in Somerset into a wealthy, landed family; he was the second son and second of the seven children of Cecil and Mary Smyth-Piggott.[2] On a sea journey in February 1893 to Colombo, his father fell overboard and drowned. Continue reading

New Headstone for Company Serjeant Major George Mayer Symons

The new gravestone for George Symons, August 2016
The new gravestone for George Symons, August 2016

Warrant Officer Class 2, Company Serjeant Major, George Mayer Symons, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), attached to the British War Mission, died during the influenza epidemic at Camp Lee, Virginia on 8 October 1918. He was buried in Poplar Grove National Cemetery near Petersburg.

Unfortunately, his grave marker was incorrectly inscribed. The error was first identified by Betsy Dinger, a Park Ranger of the National Parks Service responsible for the cemetery. In conjunction with the CWGC team in Ottawa, she obtained a new, correctly inscribed headstone and stored it pending the refurbishment of the cemetery. Continue reading