New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Conway

Postcard, Main Street Conway NH, October 8, 1921. Plymouth State University, Museum of the White Mountains.

Conway in Carroll County New Hampshire has several monuments to those who both served and died during World War I.  The town itself is composed of eight villages that are part of ConwayCenter Conway, North Conway, East Conway, Intervale, Kearsarge, Quint, Redstone, and South Conway.  It is bordered on the east by the State of Maine, and the residents often traveled over the board living at various times in both states.

Before I go into detail on the young men from Conway and vicinity who lost their lives during the World War, I will note the engraved names on some of the memorial plaques.  It is important to remember the actual people WHO both served, and especially those who sacrificed their lives.  I would like to thank Bob Cottrell for his assistance in researching this story. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: The Nurses of Base Hospital No. 6 aka “The Bordeaux Belles”

Upon arrival at Bordeaux France on July 28 1918, Base Hospital No. 6 occupied French Hôpital Complémentaire No. 25 (Petit Lycée de Bordeaux). Office of Medical History, U.S. Army Medical Department.

According to the Massachusetts General Hospital Museum web site: “In May 1917, U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 6, a medical-surgical unit of Massachusetts General physicians and nurses, was activated under the command of Col. Frederic A. Washburn, MD, director of the hospital.”   Base Hospital, No. 6 was constructed in a school and other buildings in Bordeaux France–an area that was close to the battlefields of WWI. The Massachusetts General Hospital archives state that the nurses in this hospital were later known as the “Bordeaux Belles.”

Among these nurses were six from New Hampshire, one (Lucy N. Fletcher) dying while in service. I have managed to locate photographs of all of them, and their biographies can be found later on in this story. The New Hampshire nurses were:
Leonora [Leonor A.] Field, Orford, NH
– *Lucy Nettie Fletcher, Concord, NH
Glee Marshall, Colebrook, NH
Edna L. Ricker, North Conway, NH
Hope F. Romani, 8 South Myrtle street, Milford, NH
Laura E. Sanborn, Contoocook, NH Continue reading

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New Hampshire World War I Military: Private Ralph W. Shirley of Conway NH (1896-1918)

A Boston Post newspaper of 2 August 1918 announced Ralph W. Shirley’s death.

Ralph Wellington Shirley was born on 28 May 1896 in Conway, Carroll County NH, son of Arthur R. & Bessie (Moody) Shirley and grandson of  Joshua & Mary E. (Woodward) Shirley.  He had siblings Lela E. (b 1894), Earl A. (b 1899) and Leon A. (b 1897).   According to newspaper and other records, Ralph grew up in Conway NH and Fryeburg Maine, a farmer’s son, attending Fryeburg Academy.  He was studying at New Hampshire State College (now called the University of New Hampshire) in the future graduating Class of 1919, but he left to enlist in the United States army.

Ralph was assigned to F Company of the 101st Engineers. His brother, Leon Arthur Shirley also appears to have been a member of the same military group.  He was trained and sent to Europe, where he was killed in action on 13 July 1918, probably in the Pas Fini Sector, Lorraine France, where his battalion would have been stationed from July 8 to the 14th, 1918. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Exeter

Circa 1910 postcard of Exeter New Hampshire’s Town Hall. The upstairs of this building was renovated in 1919 as a place for World War I military veterans to gather.

At Exeter New Hampshire’s town meeting of March 1919, a committee was appointed to consider the building of a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the town. They recommended a sum not to exceed $10,000 be appropriated to remodel the upper story of the Town Hall building “to fit it for the use of said soldiers and sailors.” This remodeling would be overseen by a committee with the following members: Albert E. McReel, John A. Green, Albert J. Weeks, Thomas Smith and Thomas McLaughlin.

Also recommended was the employment of noted local sculptor Daniel Chester French, who would design and construct a “suitable memorial to Exeter’s soldiers and sailors” not costing more than $20,000. The committee to oversee this memorial would be John E. Young, Wendell B. Folsom, Albertus T. Dudley and James W. Bixler. Both sums were raised by means of town bonds, with an additional $3,000 raised as part of the town tax for that year. Albert E. McReel, Secretary for the Committee submitted this report. Continue reading

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100 Years Ago: NH Headlines of April 6 1917–U.S. Enters World War I

April 6 1917 Headline from the front page of the Nashua Telegraph newspaper (Nashua NH) stating that war had been declared.

The New Hampshire newspaper headlines of April 6, 1917 greeted readers with bold announcements that the United States was now at war. The Nashua Telegraph added a slightly smaller headline at the top of the front page “McElwain Co. To Have Big Addition” then posted two rows down “President Signs War Proclamation.” On that day the addition of new jobs to Nashua would have felt more important than the conflict in a distant land. Continue reading

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