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

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 Henry Louis Gerow

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

The grave of Private Henry Louis Gerow
The grave of Private Henry Louis Gerow

This is a most tragic story about a young man, unsuitable for military service, who should not have been enlisted.

Christmas wishes, 1903
Christmas wishes, 1903

Henry Louis Gerow was born on 2 February 1895, the son of John and Matilda Gerow.[1] He was the fourth of six sons and he had four sisters. His parents were from New York, where they had married and started a family before moving to Beaugrand, in Cheboygan County, Michigan. His father was a farmer and in 1917 he was killed in an accident when a pile of logs that he was taking to the mill fell and crushed him. Continue reading

Private Frederick Harold Lewis

This essay is about the single First World War casualty commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Wyoming.

The grave of Private Frederick Harold Lewis
The grave of Private Frederick Harold Lewis

Fred Lewis was a British immigrant who settled with his mother and two of his sisters in Wyoming. His father was a regular soldier in the Corps of Royal Engineers and Fred was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where his father was serving, on 3 August 1894.[1] He was the fifth of six children, and the eldest of two sons.[2] His father was a quartermaster sergeant when died at the Station Hospital in Gosport, Hampshire in 1896. After his death the children were sent in different directions, with the youngest four attending St David’s orphanage in Mumbles, Glamorganshire. Fred’s movements over the next decade are not known.

His elder sister, Alice, emigrated to the United States in 1907, destined for Big Horn, Wyoming, where she married. His mother followed in 1910; she remarried in 1916.[3] Fred Lewis arrived in Canada on 23 December 1911 and also travelled to Sheridan County, where he became a ranch hand. His sister, Ethel, joined them in October 1912. Continue reading

Sergeant Michael Francis Moynihan

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 Michael Moynihan
The grave of Michael Moynihan

Michael Francis Moynihan served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force under the name Francis Henry Chapman. He was born on 24 March 1892 in South Manchester, one of the twelve children of Michael and Julia Moynahan.[1] His parents were both Irish immigrants, and his father and most of his siblings worked in the Cheney Brothers’ silk mill in the town; Moynihan worked as a clerk and stenographer. Continue reading

Private Winfield George Haviland

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 Winfield George Haviland
The grave of Winfield George Haviland

Winfield George Haviland was a United States citizen, whose service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force was limited to service in Canada as a result of illness. He was born on 4 February 1893 at Stamford, Connecticut, the only child of William and Eliza Haviland.[1] His father died in 1897 and in 1900, when he was seven years old, he was sent to Connecticut School for Boys;  the establishment provided an education for juvenile offenders and orphans. Continue reading

Private George Henry Chamberlain

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 George Chamberlain
The grave of George Chamberlain

George Henry Chamberlain was born on 1 August 1894 at Orono, Maine, the son of John and Mary Chamberlain and the middle of their seven children.[1] His family were French Canadians from New Brunswick, who had emigrated to the United States in 1888. His father was a machinist in the local mill of the Orono Pulp and Paper Co. Some of his brothers worked there too but George Chamberlain learned to drive and became a chauffeur. Continue reading