A Wounded Survivor of the War of 1812: Nottingham New Hampshire’s Colonel Joseph Cilley (1791-1887)

Colonel Joseph Cilley

Colonel Joseph Cilley (1791-1887)

There were several men by the name of Joseph Cilley in the early annals of New Hampshire’s military history.  To clarify–“The elder son [of Greenleaf Cilley] was known as Colonel Joseph Cilley, his grandfather was General Joseph Cilley, and his great-grandfather was Captain Joseph Cilley.

For this story I have focused on the first mentioned, Colonel Joseph Cilley. During the War of 1812 he was originally commissioned an ensign, on 6 July 1812, in Capt. John McClary’s company, Eleventh Regiment, United States Infantry (then commanded by Col. Isaac Clark of VT). Joseph Cilley was promoted to 2nd Lieut. 6 July 1812, then again promoted 1st lieutenant on March 17, 1814 and transferred to the Twenty-First United States Infantry, commanded by Colonel Miller. He was breveted Captain after the Battle of Niagara NY. It was not until 1827 that he was appointed an aide on the staff of then New Hampshire Governor Benjamin Pierce, with the rank of colonel, by which he was known for the rest of his life. Continue reading

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Pilot Casualty of World War 2: Nashua, New Hampshire’s Ensign Paul Boire, USNR

Ensign Paul Boire

Ensign Paul Boire (1921-1943)

Ensign Paul Amie Boire is hailed as the first Nashua pilot to “make the supreme sacrifice” in World War II. He was the third child and second son of George F. & Angelina (Lapierre) Boire, born in Nashua NH on 16 January 1921. During that time his parents lived at 108 Tolles Street, Nashua, New Hampshire.

Paul  graduated from Nashua High School in 1939, followed by attendance at St. Anselm College. At this time he also took flying lessons at Nashua offered by the Civil Aeronautics Administration program. He entered the Navy at the age of 20 and two years later he was dead. Continue reading

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The Lost Faces of World War One — Part Five

This is the continuation of a series of stories about men who died in World War 1, and whose photographs appeared in a publication called “Our Nation’s Roll of Honor.” The original post and explanation can be found at this link.  There will also be a complete listing of all the names researched at that same blog post.

LOST FACES OF WORLD WAR ONE: Our Nation’s Roll of Honor — Part Five


CLOUTIER Desire Somerset MAPrivate Desire Cloutier
Somerset, Mass
Killed in Action

Desire Cloutier was born 5 June 1892 at St. John’s Canada, son of George and Delima (Geautier) Cloutier of Fall River, Massachusetts.  He was the brother of Mrs. Delia (Cloutier) Lagasse of Fall River, Mrs. Adele C. (Cloutier) Fournier of Somerset, Mrs. Melvina (Cloutier) Forcier of Pawtucket RI, Mrs. Carma (Cloutier) Abel of Manchester NH, George B. Cloutier, and Joseph Cloutier. He had been a resident in Massachusetts for twenty-one of his twenty-five years, by the time of his death. Continue reading

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Deeds of Valor–Spanish-American War Medal of Honor Recipient: Bradford New Hampshire’s Walter Scott West (1872-1943)

Walter Scott West charcoalHe was born Scott Walter West, but used the name Walter Scott West when he enlisted for service in Company C, United States Marine Corp., assigned to the U.S.S. Marblehead (C-11). His native town was Bradford, New Hampshire, though his parents had moved to Stoddard by the time he was 7 years old, and afterwards to Hillsborough, NH (the town). So it seems several places may like to “claim” him.

I chose to write about him, as representative of the many New Hampshire participants in the Spanish-American War.  I had no idea until I researched his family tree, that I am related to him–a fifth cousin, three time removed, through his paternal grandmother, Mary Runnels Ayer (who married Leonard West).

Walter Scott West was the only U.S. Marine from New Hampshire to receive the medal of honor until one was presented to Jehd Colby Barker of Franklin, New Hampshire. Lance Corporal Barker lost his life on 21 September 1967 in Vietnam and was awarded the medal posthumously. Continue reading

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A 2016 Military Father’s Day: My Dad’s WW2 Navy in Photographs

Berwin H. Webster in dress blue service uniform circa 1943

Berwin H. Webster in dress blue service uniform circa 1943

Thirty five years ago was the last time I was able to happily celebrate Father’s Day. On November 7th of 1981 my Dad, Berwin “Webby” Webster, passed away, at the age of 68. He left behind no enemies, and a large family to grieve him.

He also left behind mementos of his service in the United States Navy during World War 2. I do not know what happened to his service medals, nor the log book with kanji reportedly taken from a captured Japanese submarine. But I did end up with a few of his personal war items–his gob hat, silken pillows sent home, a rare letter. I formerly wrote a story about some of his assignments and experiences, but there is much more to tell. Continue reading

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