Fireman Low On

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

Editors update, March 2016: For many years the CWGC recorded this seaman’s name as ‘Ou Loo’, believed to be the consequence of a series of transcription errors. That error has now been adjusted and he is correctly commemorated as ‘ Low On’. His gravestone will be replaced.[1]

The grave of Fireman Low On
The grave of Fireman Low On

Fireman Low On is one of the few casualties buried in the United States who died as a result of enemy action.

He was born in the mid-1880s in Guangdong province in southern China. There is no record of his early life or when he became a mariner but he signed on for service with SS Diomed in Hong Kong on 14 March 1918. Continue reading

Remembrance Day 2015 – Laurel Grove South Cemetery, Savannah

The grave of Private James Stewart, 11 November 2015
The grave of Private James Stewart, 11 November 2015

On Remembrance Day 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces contingent stationed in the United States at Fort Gordon, Georgia, held an act of remembrance at the grave of Private James Stewart.

Private Stewart was an African-American from Savannah, Georgia, who enlisted for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served with No.2 Construction Company attached to the Canadian Forestry Corps in the Jura region in south-east France, and at Alençon in northern France. He died in Canada on 19 December 1919 and was buried in  Laurel Grove South Cemetery, Savannah four days later.

The event was organised by Corporal Allan Gudlaugson and the photographs were taken by Marie-Carole Gallien.

Lieutenant Robert Archer Bowlby

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

Miss Ruth Elliott and Robert Archer Bowlby
Miss Ruth Elliott and Robert Archer Bowlby

Robert Archer Bowlby is one of two American dancers to feature in this project—the other, much more famous, is Vernon Castle, who is buried in the same cemetery in New York. There are numerous newspaper reports, and records of talks given by Lieutenant Bowlby, that testify to his war service in France, his shell shock and subsequent role in support of the War Bond drives in the United States. His service was more prosaic, however—he made it to England before falling sick and being diagnosed with a heart condition, which resulted in his return to Canada and discharge. Continue reading

Private Samuel Barnett

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 Samuel Barnett
The grave of Private Samuel Barnett

Samuel Barnett was born on 18 February 1879 in Belfast, Ireland, the eldest of the two sons of Matthew and Matilda Barnett.[1] He was a shipping clerk in Belfast before he emigrated to the United States in 1901 with his mother and his younger brother, Matthew. They lived on Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, a block from the Empire State Building; Samuel worked in New York as an underwriter.

On 11 February 1918 in New York he was examined and found fit for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and on 18 March he travelled by train via Niagara Falls to Toronto where he was attested and joined the 2nd Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment at Exhibition Camp; he was allocated the regimental number 3233160.

Although seemingly fit when he underwent his initial medical examination, from the time of his arrival in Toronto he felt under the weather and on 20 March he was sick in the cookhouse. He was taken to the hospital at Exhibition Camp in the early evening. There he was diagnosed as suffering from influenza and he soon developed pneumonia; he died of heart failure at 11.30pm on 23 March 1918. His body was returned home and he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, on the northern side of the cemetery near the junction of 7th Avenue and 22nd Street, in Section J, Lot 33488. His mother and his brother are buried with him; their grave is unmarked. He is one of two First World War CWGC burials in that cemetery—the other is Cadet L H Thompson, Royal Air Force, who died on 30 October 1918.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private Samuel Barnett
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private Samuel Barnett

Private Samuel Barnett is commemorated on page 364 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 10 August. His father received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll. Continue reading

Private Thomas Camp

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

The grave of Private Thomas Camp in Chattanooga National Cemetery
The grave of Private Thomas Camp in Chattanooga National Cemetery

Thomas Camp was an American of British descent born at Madisonville, Tennessee on 24 January 1896, the son of Charlie and Annie (née Arp) Camp. Little is known of his wider family but he worked as a baker and lived in Shooks Gap, a small settlement south-east of Knoxville.

He enlisted at Montreal on 6 February 1918 for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and joined the 1st Depot Battalion, Quebec Regiment, where he was allocated the number 3081869. Camp’s early service was spent in hospital until 15 May, when he was posted to Valcartier, the site of the largest training camp in Canada, to be employed as a baker. Continue reading

Sapper Lee Arvel Moss

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

The grave of Private Lee Moss
The grave of Private Lee Moss

Lee Arvel Moss was born at Vigor, a community near Athens, in McMinn County, Tennessee on 4 March 1887, the second of the five children and eldest son of Hugh and Cammie Moss.[1]

At the time of his enlistment he was living in Montreal and, although a blacksmith by trade, he was working as a steam fitter. He was a member of the Militia, serving with 4th Field Company, Canadian Engineers. He enlisted on 10 August 1916 for service with the 5th Pioneer Battalion, giving his year of birth as 1883, and was allocated the regimental number 1078503. Continue reading

Corporal William Vannah Taylor

This is part of a series of three essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Tennessee. This account is incomplete, however, due to the process to digitise Canadian service records—it will be updated when his service record becomes available.

The grave of Corporal William Vannah Taylor
The grave of Corporal William Vannah Taylor

William Vannah Taylor IV was born on 4 December 1875 in Louisiana, the eldest of the six children of William Vannah Taylor III, a doctor (later the first mayor of the newly incorporated town of Olla, Louisiana) and Sarah Francis Davis.[1] Although he came from a long line of physicians—the previous four generations had produced doctors; his grandfather had served with the United States Navy as an Assistant Surgeon in the War of 1812—William V.Taylor IV entered the real estate business. Continue reading