Private John McGraw

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 Private John McGraw

John McGraw, a married man, enlisted in the United States, probably in Chicago, for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and travelled to Toronto to join the 1st Depot Battalion, Central Ontario Regiment. Immediately upon his arrival in Toronto on 20 February 1918, prior being attested, taken on strength and allocated a regimental number, he was admitted to the Base Hospital suffering from paratyphoid bronchitis.[1] He died from heart failure on 13 March 1918, aged 37.

His body was returned to the United States and he was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Cleveland on 18 March. His grave, in Section 42, Lot 237, is in the north-west part of the cemetery near the entrance and is marked by a flat Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker. He is one of two casualties in this cemetery: See Private Sam Corrodo. Continue reading

Private Samuel Corrodo

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 Private Sam Corrodo

Sam Corrodo was born on 15 April 1897 in Oriolo, Calabria, Italy, the son of George and Carmela Corrado [also spelled Corrado].[1] His father, a tailor, arrived in the United States in 1901 and the family followed between 1907 and 1909. While his parents and three brothers remained in New York, Sam Corrodo moved to Chicago where he worked as a floor-layer.

He enlisted on 27 February 1918 in Chicago (he stated that he was a Canadian by birth) before travelling to Toronto to join the 2nd Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment for training as an infantryman; he was allocated the number 3232427. Continue reading

Private Charles M. Altman

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 Private Charles Altman

Charles Altman was born in Rhode Island on 15 July 1898 into a Jewish family of German extraction. His father, Philip, who had served for six months during the Spanish-American War, was from New York and had German parents, and his mother, Sadie, had been born in Germany.[1] In 1901, Charles Altman’s younger sister was born and sometime before 1910 the family moved to Cleveland, where his father worked for a clothing manufacturer. He later started his own business in Canton. While the family business remained in Canton, the family spent some time in California and Arizona, probably related Charles Altman’s bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia.

Altman enlisted for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 5 January 1918 at Victoria in British Columbia and was taken on strength of the 2nd Depot Battalion, British Columbia Regiment. Continue reading

Sapper Matthew Neal Kirby

The grave of Sapper Matthew Neal Kirby

Matthew Kirby was born in Sunderland, England on 4 September 1886, the only son and fourth of the five children of Matthew and Alice Kirby.[1] His father was a seaman (and member of the Royal Naval Reserve). Kirby became a house painter and by 1911 he was living and working in Harrogate. In the third quarter of 1911, Kirby married Mary Ann McCoy in Sunderland.[2]

In 1912 or 1913 Kirby emigrated to the United States; he was followed on 27 October 1913 by his wife. The couple lived at 546 West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan, New York City and Kirby found work as a painter, although he found himself unemployed in 1917, which may have prompted his enlistment. Continue reading

Sapper John Costello

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

The grave of Sapper John Costello

John Costello was working as a carpenter when he enlisted on 20 May 1918 in New York; he then travelled north to Canada and joined the Canadian Engineers Training Depot at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Allocated the number 2010335, Sapper Costello began his training but in June was diagnosed as suffering from a heart complaint. He was posted to No. 6 Engineer Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia in September and he remained there in the Works Section until he was discharged as unfit for military service due to his heart condition on 15 April 1919. Continue reading

Private James Brennan

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 James Brennan

As is always the case in attempting to research someone with a common name, the early life of James Brennan has been difficult to put together. It is known that he was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 30 March 1883, the only son and second child of John and Lucy Brennan. His father died when he was very young and his mother remarried. Sometime in 1893 James Brennan, his mother, sister and step-sister emigrated to the United States and settled in Fall River, Massachusetts, where his step-father, James Green, had been living since his arrival a few years earlier. There James and Lucy Green had four more children. When they were old enough, most of the family went to work in the local cotton mills.[1] James Brennan’s Canadian service record indicates that he served in the United States Army for seven years, which has not been verified. He later worked as electrician. In 1909, he married Mary Garside in Fall River; the couple had two children—a son, James, and a daughter, Dorothy.[2]

Brennan enlisted for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Montreal on 16 January 1918 and joined 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Quebec Regiment; he was allocated the number 3081563. After his initial training, he sailed for England on 12 February and on his arrival joined 23rd Reserve Battalion. On 21 June, he was posted to France to the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles) in 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Continue reading

Private Michael John Dugan

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

The grave of Private Michael Dugan

Michael Dugan was born on 16 November 1884 in Corry, Pennsyvania, one of the nine surviving children of William and Ellen Dugan; his father died soon after he was born.[1] There are few details known about his early life except that he found work as a cigar maker before becoming a mechanic and that he married around 1905. He and his wife Mary had two children, a daughter, Helen, and a son, Kenneth.[2] By the time of his enlistment the family were living in Niagara Falls, New York.

Michael Dugan enlisted at St. Catharines, Ontario on 24 April 1916. He joined the 176th (Niagara Rangers) Battalion and was allocated the number 850542. The Battalion been raised in St Catharines in January 1916 and was encamped on Spring Street. His family followed him to St Catharines in May 1916. On Victoria Day, 24 May, the Battalion paraded through the town and Dugan was most likely in the contingent and watched by his family. Continue reading