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.

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

Private Bert Lancelot Brennen

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

The new grave marker for Private Bert Brennen

Private Bert Brennen was an American of Irish descent—he hailed from Detroit, Michigan, where he was born on 24 March 1882. Little is known of his parents, wider family or his early life but by the time he enlisted in 1918 he was working as a motor mechanic in Barons, Alberta.[1] While living in Barons, he became engaged to Helena W. Comstock, a California-born chiropractor.[2]

Bert Brennen was not conscripted—he enlisted into the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Calgary, Alberta on 23 May 1918. He joined the 1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment and was allocated the number 3207145. He had recently suffered from pneumonia and he was placed in medical category ‘C3’—defined as being fit only for sedentary duties at home. Continue reading

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission

I am very pleased to announce that the project has been endorsed by:

WW1_logo_v2The project will advance the aims of the Commission[1] through:

Education: Informing national and local audiences about the participation of the United States and Americans in the First World War outwith the AEF.

Commemoration: Achieving recognition of the service and sacrifice of Americans, who may otherwise be forgotten because they were not serving with the AEF.

Memorials: Identifying and cataloguing memorials to American casualties, including CWGC and private grave markers, that may otherwise not be recognized.


1. (Back) ‘The Commission is responsible for planning, developing, and executing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War One; encouraging private organizations and State and local governments to organize and participate in activities commemorating the centennial of World War I; facilitating and coordinating activities throughout the United States relating to the centennial of World War One; serving as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about events and plans for the centennial of World War One; and developing recommendations for Congress and the President for commemorating the centennial of World War One.’

Private Harry Fooksman

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

Editors note: Private Fooksman is commemorated as  by the CWGC as ‘Private Harry Ross’, the name under which he served.

97th Battalion (American Legion) Cap Badge
97th Battalion (American Legion) Cap Badge

Harry Ross is something of an enigma—the name under which he served, and by which he is commemorated by the CWGC, is an alias.  He was born Harry Fooksman, the only son of a Russian Jewish family, both sides of which had emigrated to the United States in the late-1880s. Continue reading

Private Francis George Thomas

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

Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans
Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans

Frank Thomas was born in 1891 at Wells Street,[1] off Gray’s Inn Road, London the eldest of the two surviving children of Francis and Emma Thomas. His father was a printer’s compositor, a trade that Frank was to be follow. His father died in the early part of 1900 and by 1911 his mother was working as a cook in a factory—Frank was living with her and was a printer’s apprentice.[2]

After the outbreak of war, he enlisted into the British Army on 9 September 1914 at Holborn for service with 7th (Service) Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment.[3] He joined his new battalion at Shoreham-by-Sea in Sussex and was allocated the regimental number 14178. Private Thomas did not serve there for long—he was discovered to have flat feet and was discharged on 27 October.

Not satisfied with his first experience of military service he enlisted again, this time at Islington, and joined The London Regiment. Continue reading

Engineer Sub-Lieutenant John Gemmell

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

The grave of Engineer Sub-Lieutenant John Gemmell
The grave of Engineer Sub-Lieutenant John Gemmell

Engineer Sub-Lieutenant John Gemmell is the most westerly of the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the United States. He died of pneumonia in Hawaii and is buried in O’ahu Cemetery. Continue reading

Sergeant William Pattinson

The notification of the death of Sergeant William Pattinson

The death of Sergeant William Pattinson in Hagerstown, Maryland was brought to our attention by Jill Craig of Western Maryland Regional Library. The notification of his death, published in the Hagerstown Daily Mail, was found during research for a project about Western Maryland during the war. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission—a case will be made for his death to be recognised as attributable to his war service.

William Pattinson was born on 21 January 1889, in the village of Crosscanonby in Cumberland, the eldest son and eldest of the five children of James and Margaret Ann Pattinson.[1] His mother worked as a milliner in his father’s drapery business. Continue reading

Leading Seaman Peter Beatty

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

Editor’s Note: Some details about Leading Seaman Beatty were incorrectly recorded by the CWGC. His online record now reflects his correct date of death, service and ship and his gravestone will be replaced.

The war memorial at Chester Cathedral
The war memorial at Chester Cathedral

When the war memorial was unveiled at Chester Cathedral on 24 May 1922, two mothers played a central role in the ceremony—Mrs Lydia Sheriff Roberts had lost three sons in the war and Mrs Mary Beatty had lost four.[1]

Continue reading