Private John Robert Collinson

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 Private John Robert Collinson

John Robert Collinson was born on 1 February 1896 in Keighley, West Yorkshire the only son and eldest of the two children of Isaac and Martha Collinson.[1] When he was eight his mother died and soon afterwards his father remarried.[2] The fate of that marriage is not known but in September 1907 Isaac Collinson emigrated alone to the United States, to Lawrence, Massachusetts. The two children lived with their maternal grandparents and then their mother’s brother in Leeds until they followed their father in November 1914; Isaac Collinson had remarried by the time of their arrival and over the next few years half-siblings were added to the family.[3] Having lived for a time in Rhode Island, the family settled in Methuen, Massachusetts. Prior to his enlistment, Collinson worked in a mill in Lawrence and he lived in Methuen with his wife, Fanny, who had also been born in Yorkshire, and their daughter.[4]

He enlisted on 23 January 1918 and joined the 249th Battalion, Canadian Infantry; he was allocated the number 1070011. The Battalion had been raised in 1917 and by the time Collinson joined it was preparing to travel to England. Continue reading

Private (Joseph) Raymond Collier

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 Private Raymond Collier

Raymond Collier was one of several men who served for only a few weeks before dying while undergoing training. A French Canadian immigrant to the United States, he enlisted on 4 May 1918 in St. Jean, New Brunswick and joined the 1st Depot Battalion, New Brunswick Regiment, where he was allocated the number 3259323. After only three-and-a-half weeks he was admitted to St. John Military Hospital on 29 May suffering from pneumonia and very severe bronchitis; after a few days’ treatment he rallied but then relapsed and died at 3.00 pm on 8 June, aged 22. Continue reading

Captain Rowland Siddons Smith OBE

The death of Captain Rowland Siddons Smith was identified when examining photographs of the grave of the single casualty commemorated in Hawaii. Although holding military rank, he is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission because he was an employee of the Colonial Office and his death was not due to enemy action.

The grave of Captain Rowland Siddons Smith OBE

Rowland Siddons Smith was born on 11 November 1867 in Bareilly, Rohilkhand (now in Uttar Pradesh), India, the only son and eldest of the seven children of Rowland and Mary Smith.[1] His father was an officer of the Bengal Staff Corps, who had served with 59th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry in the East India Company from 1852, through the Indian mutiny and, later, during the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War.[2] About 1873, Major Rowland Smith and his family returned moved to England—first to Yorkshire, where a daughter was born, and later to the Isle of Wight, where two more daughters were added. He returned to India just prior to the Second Anglo-Afghan War, during which he commanded 8th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, and after which he was invalided to England. His final daughter was born in 1881 on the Isle of Wight before the family moved to Red Hall at Bracebridge Heath near Lincoln, where Colonel Rowland Smith died suddenly on 24 July 1893. His mother subsequently settled in Caversham, Oxfordshire. Continue reading

Gunner John ‘Jack’ Cameron

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 Gunner John ‘Jack’ Cameron

Jack Cameron was born on 25 January 1885 in Glasgow, Scotland. The commonality of his name and the paucity of details in his service record preclude a detailed examination of his family or of his arrival in the United States. By the time of his enlistment in 1918 he was working as a machinist in a factory in Auburn Massachusetts, where he lived with his wife Rose; the couple had no children.[1]

He enlisted on 14 May 1918 in Montreal and began his training at 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Quebec Regiment, where he was allocated the number 3084584. He subsequently transferred to 79th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery on 13 May 1918.

On 8 October 1918, Private Cameron was admitted to the Grenadier Guards Emergency Hospital in Montreal suffering from influenza. He died of pneumonia on 16 October. His remains were returned to Massachusetts and he was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Auburn. His grave is marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone and is in Section 16 in the north-centre part of the cemetery.

The Memorial Cross, plaque and scroll were sent to his widow. He is commemorated on page 379 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 17 August.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Gunner Jack Cameron

1. (Back) John Cameron married Rose L. (surname unknown) on 31 December 1916.

Private Stanley Daniel Robinson

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

The grave of Stanley Daniel Robinson

Stanley Robinson was born in Ingersoll, Oxford County, Ontario on 22 July 1898, the sixth of the nine children, and third son, of Daniel and Annie Robinson.[1] The family was mostly born in Canada but Robinson parents and the younger members of the family came to the United States sometime after 1911; their movements over this period are difficult to trace but by 1916 his parents were living in Lowellville, Ohio.

Robinson, who was a spinner in a mill, enlisted in Woodstock, Ontario on 8 January 1916, aged 17—he gave his date of birth as 22 February 1897. He joined the newly-raised 168th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was allocated the number 675092. On 5 May he transferred to 4th Canadian Pioneer Battalion on its formation at St. Andrews, New Brunswick.[2] Continue reading

Cadet Clifford Norman Murray

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

Cadet Clifford Norman Murray

Clifford Norman Murray was born on 6 July 1897 at Pensnett, Staffordshire (now in the West Midlands), the eldest of the three children of Thomas and Ada Murray.[1] Sailing onboard the RMS Franconia from Liverpool, the family emigrated to the United States on 5 June 1913, and settled in Swissvale, east of Pittsburgh. When he left school, Murray went to work with the Union Switch and Signal Company. In 1917 the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, although they kept a house in Swissvale.

On 12 October 1917, Clifford Murray enlisted for service with the Royal Flying Corps (152452, Cadet) and in December after ground training in Toronto he went to Fort Worth, Texas with No. 81 Canadian Training Squadron. A little under two months later, on 14 February 1918 when flying about two miles south-east of Field No. 2 his aircraft, a Curtis JN4 serial C.736, went into a spinning nose-dive. Cadet Murray died due to a fractured skull in the inevitable crash. His body was returned to Swissvale. After a military funeral—in which his casket was draped with the flags of both nations and honours were provided by the United Spanish War Veterans—he was buried in the nearby Monongahela Cemetery. His grave is in Section 3, Lot 90, which is in the west-centre of the cemetery. When his mother died in 1929 she was buried alongside him; his father is also buried in the cemetery.

The grave of Clifford Norman Murray

Cadet Clifford Norman Murray is commemorated on page 591 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 21 December. He is also commemorated in Dudley on the Higher Elementary School war memorial.[2]

His nephew (his brother’s son), Clifford Norman Murray, served with the United States Air Force.

Acknowledgement:
Chris Dubbs and Dale Pysher for their efforts to visit and photograph the grave.
Dr Peter Wardle for permission to use the photograph of Dudley Higher Elementary School war memorial.


1. (Back) Thomas Murray (30 January 1876-5 June 1960) married Ada Fereday (19 September 1877-4 May 1929): Archie Vernon (26 October 1904-28 October 1965), Doreen Malvena Ada (later Poxon) (31 August 1909-17 January 1999).
2. (Back) The school was later named the Sir Gilbert Claughton School and when it closed in 1990 the buildings became the Claughton Centre. The building is now derelict and the memorial has been removed for safekeeping.

Private Ernest Thomas McVicker

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

Ernest Thomas McVicker

Born in Hanley in the Staffordshire Potteries on 4 November 1884, Ernest McVicker emigrated to the United States with his parents around 1887.[1] He grew up in Pittsburgh, where his siblings were born and where he went to work in the glass industry; he was a member of the American Flint Glass Workers Union. Continue reading