Captain Joseph Joel Hammond

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

Joe Hammond and ‘Britannia’, a Bleriot XI-2 in New Zealand, January 1914

Joe Hammond was a pioneering aviator. Amongst his ‘firsts’ were: first New Zealander to gain a Royal Aero Club certificate (no. 32), pilot of the first aircraft to fly in Western Australia, and the first cross-country flight in Australia. At the time of his death he had reputedly accumulated (although unverified) about 6,000 flying hours.

Joseph Joel ‘Joe’ Hammond was born on 19 July 1886 at Feilding in the Manawatu district on North Island, New Zealand.[1] He attended Campbell Street School in Palmerston North and St Patrick’s College, Wellington. Prior to the start of his flying career, Hammond travelled and worked intermittently in Australia, Alaska, the United States, and Europe. While in Seaford in East Sussex, Hammond met Ethelwyn Wilkinson, the daughter of a well-to-do local builder, and they were married on 19 November 1909.[2] Shortly afterwards in France Hammond began to learn to fly and qualified for Aero Club de France Certificate No. 258[3] in a Sánchez Besa biplane on 4 October 1910. He qualified for Royal Aero Club Certificate No. 32 on 22 November 1910, flying a Bristol Boxkite on Salisbury Plain. Continue reading

Private John McGraw

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

The grave of Private John McGraw

John McGraw, a married man, enlisted in the United States, probably in Chicago, for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and travelled to Toronto to join the 1st Depot Battalion, Central Ontario Regiment. Immediately upon his arrival in Toronto on 20 February 1918, prior being attested, taken on strength and allocated a regimental number, he was admitted to the Base Hospital suffering from paratyphoid bronchitis.[1] He died from heart failure on 13 March 1918, aged 37.

His body was returned to the United States and he was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Cleveland on 18 March. His grave, in Section 42, Lot 237, is in the north-west part of the cemetery near the entrance and is marked by a flat Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker. He is one of two casualties in this cemetery: See Private Sam Corrodo. Continue reading

Private Samuel Corrodo

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

The grave of Private Sam Corrodo

Sam Corrodo was born on 15 April 1897 in Oriolo, Calabria, Italy, the son of George and Carmela Corrado [also spelled Corrado].[1] His father, a tailor, arrived in the United States in 1901 and the family followed between 1907 and 1909. While his parents and three brothers remained in New York, Sam Corrodo moved to Chicago where he worked as a floor-layer.

He enlisted on 27 February 1918 in Chicago (he stated that he was a Canadian by birth) before travelling to Toronto to join the 2nd Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment for training as an infantryman; he was allocated the number 3232427. Continue reading

Private Charles M. Altman

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

The grave of Private Charles Altman

Charles Altman was born in Rhode Island on 15 July 1898 into a Jewish family of German extraction. His father, Philip, who had served for six months during the Spanish-American War, was from New York and had German parents, and his mother, Sadie, had been born in Germany.[1] In 1901, Charles Altman’s younger sister was born and sometime before 1910 the family moved to Cleveland, where his father worked for a clothing manufacturer. He later started his own business in Canton. While the family business remained in Canton, the family spent some time in California and Arizona, probably related Charles Altman’s bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia.

Altman enlisted for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 5 January 1918 at Victoria in British Columbia and was taken on strength of the 2nd Depot Battalion, British Columbia Regiment. Continue reading

Sapper Matthew Neal Kirby

The grave of Sapper Matthew Neal Kirby

Matthew Kirby was born in Sunderland, England on 4 September 1886, the only son and fourth of the five children of Matthew and Alice Kirby.[1] His father was a seaman (and member of the Royal Naval Reserve). Kirby became a house painter and by 1911 he was living and working in Harrogate. In the third quarter of 1911, Kirby married Mary Ann McCoy in Sunderland.[2]

In 1912 or 1913 Kirby emigrated to the United States; he was followed on 27 October 1913 by his wife. The couple lived at 546 West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan, New York City and Kirby found work as a painter, although he found himself unemployed in 1917, which may have prompted his enlistment. Continue reading

Sapper Patrick Keane

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 Sapper Patrick Keane

Patrick Keane was born about 1870 at Tarbert, a small town in County Kerry, Ireland alongside the Shannon estuary. He emigrated to the United States around 1888 and settled in New York, where he worked as a boatman and stevedore.

At the Church of the Holy Cross in New York City, on 19 October 1890, Keane married Julia Mulry, who was also an Irish immigrant. The couple had eight children, two of whom died in infancy and another died before Keane enlisted.[1] The family lived in Astoria, near Bowery Bay.

In New York on 24 July 1917, Keane enlisted for service with the Corps of Royal Engineers, and travelled to England. Continue reading

Seaman Thomas Gleeson

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 Seaman Thomas Gleeson

Thomas Gleeson was a fisherman from County Limerick and a long-serving sailor of the Royal Naval Reserve who was mobilised for service in 1914; he served as a gunner on various ships until he died just before the war ended.

Gleeson’s service records indicate that he was born on 3 January 1872 in County Limerick. His actual birth was, in fact, a little over a year earlier, on 1 December 1870; one of the eight children of John and Kate Gleeson.[1] The family lived in the north of Limerick city and, like his father, Thomas Gleeson became a fisherman on the River Shannon. Continue reading