Cadet Palmer Wilkinson Taylor

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

Palmer Wilkinson Taylor
Palmer Wilkinson Taylor

Palmer Wilkinson Taylor was born on 10 March 1896 in Providence, Rhode Island, the youngest of the two children and only son of Frank and Harriett Taylor; he was of English stock—both sets of grandparents were born in England.[1] The family lived in Massachusetts before moving, sometime before 1910, to Santa Monica. In February 1913 his mother died and in 1915 Taylor began his studies at Stanford University.

Taylor abandoned his studies in order to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps. 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

Lieutenant Louis Bennett

This essay is about the only First World War casualty commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in West Virginia.

Few know more about the life and exploits of Lieutenant Bennett than Dr. Charles D. Dusch, Jr., the Deputy Command Historian of the United States Air Force Academy, whose comprehensive and extremely well-researched thesis Great War Aviation and Commemoration: Louis Bennett, Jr., Commander of the West Virginia Flying Corps led us to his door.

This shorter piece by Dr. Dusch was written for this project. It describes Bennett’s involvement with aviation in the United States, his service with the Royal Flying Corps in France, his untimely death and his mother’s efforts to commemorate her only son. More information about Dr. Dusch may be found at the end of the essay. Footnotes are by the project editor.

The memorial to Louis Bennett Jr. in Machpelah Cemetery, Weston
The memorial to Louis Bennett Jr. in Machpelah Cemetery, Weston

West Virginia’s only Great War ace, Louis Bennett, Jr. was born in Weston, West Virginia, on 22 September 1894.[1] Unlike many of his peers who were merely enticed by the thrill of flying and became good pilots in the war, Bennett was much more. He clearly thought about aviation keenly and its impact on the war in larger terms, and he also took action on his ideas to bring them to fruition. 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