New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Rye

Photograph of the Rye NH Veteran’s Monument by Richard Marsh. Used here with permission.

On 15 January 1920 a memorial tablet was unveiled in Rye Center, New Hampshire to commemorate those who died during the World War (WWI). Three men paid the ultimate sacrifice, namely: Thomas D. MacLaughlin, Wallace Elroy Rand and Phillip Willard Tucker.

The Portsmouth Herald newspaper of 15 Jan 1920 reported: “FINAL PLANS FOR TABLET UNVEILING IN TOWN OF RYE–“The unveiling of the memorial tablet to soldiers of all wars in which citizens of Rye have served will be a notable occasion in Rye Thursday evening and it is hoped the weather conditions will be favorable. The exercises will open at 7.30 o’clock out of doors with a selection by the Portsmouth Band which will furnish music for the occasion. Three Rye boys made the supreme sacrifice in the world war. Wallace Rand, Phillip Tucker, and Thomas McLoughlin, the latter being a summer resident, but well known.

Miss Louise Rand, sister of the former will unveil the monument at the dedicatory exercises. It will be presented to the town by Ernest A. Tucker, a brother of Philip Tucker, one of these deceased World War heroes, Mr. Tucker being chairman of the committee on the memorial event.  The memorial will be accepted by Newell Marden in behalf of the town of Rye. The band will then render the “Star Spangled Banner” after which all will march to the Rye Town Hall where the remainder of the program will take place, opening with selections by the band and community singing. Rev. Mr. Flagg, pastor of the Congregational church will give the address, followed by informal remarks by Chaplain Joseph S. Doolittle of Storer Post, G.A.R., Commander John H. Clifford of the Spanish war veterans, Commander George Hill of the Emerson Hovey Post, Commander Jeremy R. Waldron of the Frank Booma Post, American Legion and others. The exercises will close with a selection by the band and the singing of America by all. The exercise out of doors are not expected to consume more than fifteen minutes and as the exercises will close in time to take cars to this city it is expected there will be many from this city to attend.”

Six months earlier on 23 May 1919 memorial trees had been planted at Central Cemetery in Rye NH for Wallace E. Rand and Phillip W. Tucker. After WWII the memorial would be expanded to add the names of those who died during WWII.

The current veteran’s memorial is located on the Rye town green at the crossroads of Washington and Central Roads and includes names from the Civil War, Spanish War, WWI, and WW2, with mention made of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The following is a transcription of the WWI plaque only with details to follow on those who died during that war.

Close up of plaque of Rye NH veterans of WWI including those who died. Photograph by Richard Marsh, used here with permission.


Arthur L. Brown
Charles R. Brown
James W. Brown
William Brown
Phillip D. Davidson
Willard H. Drake
Ernest C. Eaton
J. Russell Elwell
Donald L. Finlayson
Herbert O. Foss
Ray H. Foss
Wallace H. Garrett
Forrest C. Jenness
Herbert L. Jenness
Maurice A. Jenness
Thornton W. Jenness
Burleigh Johnson
Harry R. Keltchner
Calvin W. Dear
/ 2nd row /
Rollo A. Morton
Charles W. Parson
George F. Parsons
John L. Parsons
George O. Philbrick
Manning H. Philbrick
Seth E. Rand
*Wallace E. Rand
Albert M. Remick
Harold Remick
Austin F. Remick
Ervin O. Seavey
Maurice Smart
Morris Trefethen
*Philip W. Tucker
Ernest M. Varrell
Jesse M. Walker
Garland F. Wynott
Maynard L. Young
/ bottom /
*Thomas D. McLaughin

Heroes of Rye NH Including
Those Who Died During WWI

– L E G E N D –
[A] New Hampshire Honor Roll, Doric Hall, State House, Concord NH
[B] NH Adjutant General’s Casualty List (credited to New Hampshire)
[C] Name inscribed on Rye NH’s Veteran Monument
[D] Death or Burial Record
[E] American Battle Monuments Commission (buried in Europe)
[F] WWI Registration Form, June 1917
[G] newspaper notices
*Photograph or Likeness provided
[#] Number refers to a footnote to follow with additional information on a particular soldier, sailor, or nurse.


Thomas D. MacLaughlin | Private | Killed in Action, 27 September 1918, France  | U.S. Army,  108th Machine Gun Battalion, 28th Infantry Division | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery | Credited to Brooklyn NY in newspaper, registered from Rye NH |[A][B][C][E][F][G] [1]

Wallace Elroy Rand* |Private | Died of Disease (pneumonia), 7 Nov 1918 Gondrecourt,  France  | U.S. Army, Co. A, 14th Railway Engineers | Central Cemetery, Rye NH |[A][C][D][G][2][SEE Photograph]

Phillip Willard Tucker* | Corporal | Died of Disease, 9 Feb 1919 Camp Eustis, Virginia | U.S. Army, Motor Transport Division | Central Cemetery, Rye NH|[A][C][D][G][3]

[1] Thomas Donnnelly MacLaughlin – His surname is spelled several ways in records but MacLaughlin on his WWI Registration form that he completed himself.  At that time in June of 1918 he stated that he was born February 1890 in Coleraine, Derry Co. Ireland, and was working as a chauffeur for Francis E. Drake of Rye Beach NH. He was single, tall, of medium build, with gray eyes and dark brown hair. The Portsmouth Herald newspaper of 8 Nov 1918 reported: “Tom M’Laughlin Killed in France–Member of Machine Gun Company; Left here on May 10, 1918.  The friends and acquaintances of Thomas D. MacLaughlin in this city were filled with sorrow today in learning of the young man’s death in France. The news of his death, which occurred on September 27 was received by the family of Francis E. Drake of Rye Beach, through his aunt in New York..
MacLaughlin was widely known and lived in this city and previous to his leaving here on May 10, 1918 for Fort Slocum NY he had been employed as a chauffeur for Mr. Drake for five seasons. He later trained at a southern camp and was then sent to Salisbury Plain, England, for further special training. Just previous to his departure from this city he received the sad news of his brother’s death on the battlefield. At present another brother is recovering from wounds in a base hospital in France. He was a native of Cularine Ireland, and his home during the winter at 2089 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland Ohio, returning to Rye Beach each summer with the Drake family.”  Additional biographical material about him was printed in The Brooklyn Standard Union newspaper on 7 November 1918:  McLaughlin, Thomas D.–Private Thomas D. McLAUGHLIN, reported killed in action, was a graduate of St. Columbus [Columbs’/Columba’s] College, Londonderry, Ireland, and had lived in this country for the last ten years. He made his home with relative at 340 Decatur street. He was killed in action while serving with the 146th Machine Gun Battalion. Two brothers, one a naval aviator, in the Royal Flying Corps, and another  serving with the Canadian forces in France, have been killed in action.”  The U.S. Official Bulletin, Issues 452-483,CASUALTIES REPORTED BY GEN. PERSHING shows: McLAUGHLIN, Thomas D. Miss Rose Campbell, 340 Decatur Street, Brooklyn NY.  He is buried in the Meuse Argonne Cemetery in France [as McLaughlin].

[2] Wallace Elroy Rand was born 24 June 1897 in Rye NH, son of Jedediah & Edith C. (Foss) Rand, and grandson of Thomas & Louise A. (Hodgdon) Rand.  In 1900 and 1910 he is living on Washington Road in Rye, Rockingham Co., NH with his family.  Siblings included Louise A. [born 24 Oct 1900, m. 29 Dec 1923 in Rye NH to Frank M. Pickering, son of B. Frank & Nettie L. (Sanborn) Pickering] and Elinor Cecelia Rand [born 9 Nov 1904 Rye NH, died 9 Nov 1999 Portsmouth NH] and Gerald Thomas Rand [b 1898 Rye NH].  He served in Company A, 14th Railway Engineers of the U.S. Army.  He died of pneumonia at Gondrecourt, France on 7 November 1918. His obituary was printed in the Portsmouth Herald of 1 June 1921 after his remains were returned to the United States from France for burial.: Portsmouth Herald, Wednesday 1 June 1921–The funeral of Private Wallace E. Rand of Rye, a member of Company A, 14thRailway Engineers, who died of pneumonia on Gondrecourt France, on 7 November1918 was held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at Bethany Church Rye. There was a large throng present to pay the last tribute of respect to the brave young soldier who was born in the town and so well known to all of that community. Rev. James Flagg in his eulogy spoke in the highest terms of the young man….The remains reposed in a metallic casket over which was the American flag and beautiful floral tributes…Several members of the 14th Engineers, who were with the deceased in France, came from Boston to attend the last said rites for the soldier comrade….The bearers were ….members of the Legion. Interment was in the family lot in Central Cemetery, Rye.”  The book The soldier’s memorial, Portsmouth NH 1893-1921, Joseph Foster Storer mentions that Wallace E. Rand survived the battle of Chateau Thierry.

From 24 Feb 1920 Portsmouth
Herald newspaper.

[3] Phillip Willard Tucker was born 10 September 1894 in Rye NH, son of William W. & Mary G. (Trefethen) Tucker.  When he completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 he stated he was working as a millwright for Morley Button Co., Portsmouth, and gave his description as being single, tall, of medium stature with blue eyes and light brown hair.  In 1900 he was living in Rye NH with his maternal grandparents, George L. &
Rosette Trefethsen, and his parents and family. Siblings included Ernest Albert Tucker [b. 29 July 1883, d. 6 Jan 1953]; Florence Emma “Flossie” Tucker [b. 28 July 1885, m. 5 Oct 1925 to Arthur M. Page, son of Charles M. & Josephine (Robinson) Page]; Madge L. Tucker [b 9 March 1889, m. 14 Sep 1910 Wilbert J. Little son of Levi & Adella E. (McKinley) Little]; Edna Maud Tucker, b. 24 May 1890]; Joseph Wallis Tucker [b. 23 Dec 1891, later lived in CT and RI]; and Mildred F. Tucker [b. 30 Jan 1899, m. 17 March 1922 in Portsmouth NH to Chester A. Odiorne, son of George & Ida (Spurling) Odiorne.  On 10 August 1918 the local newspaper noted that a party was given in his honor, and he was presented with a soldier’s kit. It also noted that he was leaving on 15 August 1918 for Hanover NH for training. At that time he was employed by the local shipyard.  His death certificate states that he died 9 Feb 1919 in the Base Hospital at Camp Eustis, Virginia (where apparently he was sent for training) after an illness of 11 days of aspiration pneumonia. He is buried in Central Cemetery Rye NH.

[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I.  Look here for the entire listing].

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5 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Rye

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of The Great War | Cow Hampshire

  2. Amy says:

    As I am watching The Vietnam War on PBS this past week, I am struck by the difference between the way we treated soldiers after WW I and after Vietnam. Of course, the wars were very different and the times were vastly different. But young men dying because old men were caught in politics—whether in 1917 or 1967—is just as tragic.

  3. Michael says:

    In reading this, and reflecting on past posts referencing memorial plaques and statuary, I wonder about the financing. In your research have you learned how these commemorative pieces were paid for? Did communities fundraise or were they financed by governments?

    • Janice Brown says:

      Michael, first thank you for reading and commenting. Secondly, there does not seem to be any set rule about whether a monument was build, how it was funded and how the veterans names were represented. Many places at the time had hand painted wooden signs, much like later on during WW2 but when those fell to ruin it was random really whether more permanent memorials were created. It seems that most were built with a combination of funds, some raised from the town or city if it was approved at their annual meeting, and also donations were solicited. Only in a few rare cases have I seen the entire memorial was funded by one family or one person. As far as New Hampshire on a state level, there were two memorials build specific to WWI, one is an amazing plaque in Doric Hall of the NH State House, however I have found a few names it is missing. The other was a memorial bridge linking New Hampshire and Maine (no names there except the dignitaries who built it).

  4. Pingback: New Hampshire WWI Military: Railroad Regiment Daredevils | Cow Hampshire

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