It would be a tragedy to forget any of the brave American soldiers who died during World War I. In this particular case it seems that one man almost was. The name of James Catsavos appears on the New Hampshire Roll of Honor, on a great plaque in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House. The pale white cross above his remains in Arlington National Cemetery credit him to New Hampshire.
The only time I find that James Catsavos’ name appears attributed to a specific New Hampshire place is on 22 January 1919 in the Nashua Telegraph newspaper, page 4. “NAMES OF NASHUA’S OWN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS. The Telegraph prints herewith the names of all the soldiers and sailors, whose names begin with C or D, credited to Nashua…” (includes) Catsavos, James.” And so, I credit him to Nashua even though his name does not appear in any honor lists or on any local memorials or monuments. Let us not forget.
On 6 October 1907 Athonasios/Athanasios Catsavos, son of Evangelios Catsavos, a 20-year old single man from Elassona Greece, was processed at Ellis Island. He had arrived on the ship Sicilian Prince, with a port of departure as Piraeus. His arrival contact was an L. Papaioann [aka Papagiannis or Papajohn] a cousin in Lowell MA. By 1917 when the United States entered the World War, he must have been living in Nashua, New Hampshire. Probably he is the “Elias Catafis” who completed a registration form, living at 43 Otterson Street, born 1894 (date shown with ‘?’ marks) in Deskrata, Getrene, Greece, 23 years old, unemployed. He described himself as short, slender with brown eyes and brown hair. [Editor’s note: the birth place is probably Dheskati Greece a village about 49 miles from Ellasona].
The U.S. Military Transport Passenger List shows that on 18 July 1918 James Catsavos was a Private in Co. D, 49th Infantry, Service #2299919, departing Brooklyn NH for Europe aboard the ship, Regina De Italia. He lists his address as Macedonia, Horson, Geanea, and residence, Ellason Greece. His next of Kin is father, Angelus Catasvos. It is impossible to know exactly which battles he was involved in, as at some point he was promoted to Private First Class and transferred to Co. E., Demonstration Battalion of the Third Corps School, the unit he was serving in at his death.
The Hartford Courtant newspaper of Hartford Connecticut, dated 16 June 1919, page 10 gives me the next clue as to James Catsavos’ service. The story reports on several people having recently died in Europe”Paris, June 15–Four American soldiers have been drowned while bathing at Le Mans. They were Sergeant Harry Myers and Privates Polotti, Carpenter, and Catsavos.” [His official death date is 7 June 1919]. The Arlington National Cemetery tombstone form states that James Catsavos’ original burial Grave was #74, Sec A #1204, in the American Cemetery, La Mans, Sarthe, France.
The U.S. Military Transport records show that his remains were returned to the United States arriving from St. Nazaire, France to Hoboken, NJ on 4 Sep 1920 aboard the ship Matoika. At that time his military unit is again confirmed as Co. B, Demonstration Battalion, 3rd Corps Schools. James Catsavos was soon buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia in Section 18, 538. The simple inscription shows:
PVT 1CL US ARMY
June 7, 1919.
[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].