Private William Christopher Byron

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 Private William Byron
The grave of Private William Byron

William Christopher Byron was born in Almonte, Ontario on 27 June 1889 the son of Joseph and Nellie Byron.[1] His mother was Scottish; she emigrated to Canada in 1887 and settled in Ontario, where she married his father, a Canadian. His father died when William Byron was an infant. Continue reading

Private Frank George Laramie

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

Private Frank George Laramie
Private Frank George Laramie

Frank George Laramie (baptised Francois) was born on 15 June 1894. at Windsor Mills, Quebec, one of the six children of Mitchell and Mary Laramie.[1] With the exception of Mary Laramie, the family were French-speaking Québécois and emigrated to the United States in 1903. In the early part of the 20thC, all of the men in the family worked as farm labourers near Smithfield, north of Providence, although Frank had also worked in a local mill.

Laramie enlisted on 8 March 1916 at Sherbrooke, Quebec and joined the 117th (Eastern Townships) Battalion (748755, Private). In May the Battalion moved to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and at the end of the month to Valcartier, where the Battalion’s early training was conducted. Laramie sailed for England with the Battalion on the RMS Empress of Britain, arriving on 24 August 1916. Continue reading

Sapper William Bustin

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

Sapper William Bustin
Sapper William Bustin

William Bustin was one of three sons from this family who died during the war; his brother Robert was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915, and Ernest was killed in action in France in 1918.

He was born on 25 November 1886, in Adlington, Lancashire, into the large family of Joseph and Elizabeth Bustin; he was one of nine surviving children; two others died as infants.[1] Continue reading

Private William Bradley

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

The grave of Private William Bradley
The grave of Private William Bradley

William Bradley was born on 30 August 1891 in Bingley, Yorkshire, where his mother worked in a mill. He and his mother emigrated to the United States on 28 July 1904; they landed in Boston and settled initially in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In October 1904 his mother married Henry Morville Holmes, who had also emigrated from Bingley, and sometime in the next few years the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island.[1] Willie Bradley became a chauffeur and on 27 March 1915 he married Margaret Anne Farrell; the couple had two children—a son, William, and a daughter, Margaret; their daughter died as an infant.[2]

Bradley enlisted on 19 July 1918 in Providence and soon afterwards joined the Canadian Army Service Corps Depot at Ottawa, Ontario, where he was allocated the regimental number 2688553. On 2 September 1918 he was posted for service with the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force. Continue reading

Private Joseph Honoré Deschenes

This is one of two essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New Mexico.

The grave of Joseph Deschenes
The grave of Joseph Deschenes

Joseph Honoré Deschenes was a French-Canadian born on 10 February 1898 at St. Aubert, Quebec the fourth of the nine children of Zoël and Clare Deschenes.[1] At the time of his enlistment he was working as a labourer in Letellier, a small Francophone community in Manitoba.

He enlisted on 20 December 1915 in Morris, Manitoba for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. When he enlisted he gave his year of birth as 1897, implying that he was two months short of his 19th birthday. Continue reading

Private George Melvin Atkinson

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 Private George Atkinson
The grave of Private George Atkinson

Private George Atkinson was a Canadian-born farmer from Clinton County, New York. He is the oldest casualty researched thus far—he was born in 1858, adjusted his age by 14 years when he enlisted, and died just before his 59th birthday. Three of his sons, all born in the United States, served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France. Continue reading

Sapper John Barton Carter

This is one of two essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New Mexico.

The grave of Sapper John Barton Carter
The grave of Sapper John Barton Carter

The details of the early life of John Barton Carter are difficult to determine but it is clear that they bear no resemblance to the information he provided on enlistment in 1918. He was probably born on 3 June around 1866, possibly in or near Albia, Iowa, the son of Thomas and Lydia Carter.[1] He worked in Albia as a tailor.

Carter enlisted on 8 May 1918 in Toronto. Like many citizens of the United States, he concealed his place of birth, giving it as ‘Toronto’ and he concealed his true age, giving his date of birth as 3 June 1878. He joined the Railway Construction and Forestry Depot at Hamilton, Ontario for his initial training and was allocated the number 2500551. Continue reading

Private Patrick Bradley

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 Private Patrick Bradley
The grave of Private Patrick Bradley

Patrick Bradley was an Irishman, who enlisted in early 1918 but fell ill soon afterwards and was discharged. He was born at Cushybraken near Kilrea in County Antrim, Ireland on 15 January 1893[1] the son of Charles and Mary Bradley.[2] His father was a farmer, who died before the turn of the century.

His mother emigrated to the United States around 1904, with his older brother James, and settled in New York. Patrick remained in Cushybraken with his widowed maternal grandmother and his mother’s family. After he left school, he worked as a farm labourer. James returned to Ireland in 1909 and in January 1910 he sailed back to New York from Londonderry on the SS Furnessia with his brother Patrick. Both sons lived with their mother and Patrick found work in service. At the time of his enlistment he was a footman for Mrs Sterling Postley, who lived in a sumptuous apartment at 830 Park Avenue.[3] Continue reading

Private Leonard Bowman

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 Private Leonard Bowman
The grave of Private Leonard Bowman

In the village of Liberty in Sullivan County, New York, just prior to Remembrance Day 1921, a ‘Soldiers’ Circle’ was proposed by Liberty Cemetery Association. It was proposed particularly for ‘those veteran dead who have no families or friends to give them a fitting burial place ’.[1]  One of the first soldiers to be buried there was Private Leonard Bowman, an Englishman, who had been wounded serving in France with 116th Battalion in 3rd Canadian Division.

His family name was, in fact, Bouman—his father, Bernard, was Dutch and worked as a ladies’ tailor in London. Leonard was born in West Hampstead on 4 September 1887, the fifth of the seven surviving children of Bernard and his wife Sarah.[2] Continue reading