New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Bath

Sketch of the Bath Bridge from the town’s
annual report.

Even though Bath had less than 1000 residents,  the Town of Bath sent its full quota plus some to service during World War I. At least thirty-two men left for service but two did not return. By 1920 the resident count had dipped to 838, continuing to fall for several decades. The town’s census would not begin to recover until well into the 21st century.

Bath’s annual report of 1920 contains the following Honor Roll, composed by the historian, Clayton C. Foster:
The Honor Roll
BATH MEN WHO PAID THE SUPREME SACRIFICE.
Corp. Alexander E. Wilson, Killed in Action
Priv. Leon Chase, Died of Disease

MEN IN SERVICE
Commissioned Officers
Lieut. Amos N. Blaudin, Jr.

Non-Commissioned Officers
Sergt Harold S. Foster
Corp. Forest W. Thayer
Chief Petty Officer, John W. Johnson

Privates
George O. Briggs
Arthur E. Corey
Lawrence R. Clough
Harold E. Carr
Philip Cochrane
Frank Cochrane
Edwin P. Chamberlin
Max W. Green
Wilfred Farland
John Hoyt
Maurice K. Hibbard
Guy S. Haynes
Charles F. Jones
Eugene E. Lemarre
Philip H. Leighton
Fred Laundre
Leon E. Laundre
Stearns Morse
Fred Roy
Verne S. Rollins
Leslie Thayer
Carrol A. Tewksbury
Lawrence G. Tewksbury
Clifford C. Woolson
Freeman Welch
Moses C. Wilkins

A Memorial (recognizing all wars) was later dedicated and was located near center of town [near 29 Lisbon Street]. The WWI plaque differs from that of the annual report.  [See Waymarking’s photographs of this monument]. The inscription specific to WWI is as follows:

IN HONOR OF
THE MEN WHO ENLISTED FROM
BATH
IN THE WARS OF OUR COUNTRY
ERECTED BY THE TOWN
1917 WORLD WAR 1918
AMOS N. BLANDIN JR.
GEORGE O. BRIGGS
HAROLD C. CARR
EDWIN P. CHAMBERLIN
*LEON CHASE
LAWRENCE R. CLOUGH
FRANK E COCHRAN
PHILIP L. COCHRAN
ARTHUR E. COREY
HAROLD S. FOSTER
MAX W GREEN
GUY L. HAYNES
MAURICE K. HIBBARD
JOHN HOYT
JOHN W JOHNSON
CHARLES R. JONES
EUGENE E. LAMARRE
FRED A LAUNDRE
LEON E LAUNDRE
PHILIP H. LEIGHTON
STEARNS MORSE
VERNE S ROLLINS
FREDERICK ROY
FOREST W. THAYER
LESLIE C. THAYER
CARROL A TEWKSBURY
LAWRENCE TEWKSBURY
FREEMAN C WELCH
MOSES C. WILKINS
*ALEXANDER E. WILSON
CLIFFORD C. WOOLSON

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
Heroes of BATH NH
Died In Service During WWI

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

Alexander Ernest Wilson | Corporal | Killed in Action 30 October 1918 Argonne Forest, France | Co. E, 103rd Infantry, Yankee Division | East Cemetery, Benton NH | Credited to Woodsville NH

Alexander Ernest, also called A. Ernest Wilson was born 13 November 1886 in Benton, Grafton Co. NH, son of George E. & Rebecca (Stewart) Wilson. In 1900 & 1910 census he was residing in Bath NH with his parents and siblings, Lena May (who m. Alfred Irwin McKee) and Theodore George who m. Flora E. Drury.  On 5 June 1917 he completed his WWI Draft Registration at which time he was living in Woodsville NH, a farmer employed in Bath NH. He was single, of medium height and slender stature, with blue eyes and red hair.

Alexander Ernest Wilson departed the port of New York on 25 September 1917 aboard the ship Saxonia bound for Europe. He was a Private in Co. E, 103rd Infantry, listing his mother as Annie Wilson and his residence as Woodsville, NH.  During his service in WWI he was in several battles with the famed Yankee Division.  His final offensive was the Meuse-Argonne that was fought from September 26 to ‎November 11, 1918.  During that time he would have been exposed to “severe artillery and machine-gun fire and two large-scale attacks.  He was killed in action on 30 October 1918.  When the war ended his remains were returned to the United States.

He is buried in East Cemetery, Benton NH. His tombstone reads:
CORPORAL
A. ERNEST WILSON
Co. E 103 Inf. U.S.A.
BORN Nov. 13, 1886
KILLED IN ACTION
ARGONNE FOREST
Oct 30, 1918

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

Leon Lawrence Chase | Private | Died of Disease 28 Sep 1918 Camp Upton, Long Island NY | Soldier, Training Camp Contanment | Village Cemetery, Bath NH, family plot

Leon Lawrence Chase was born 9 August 1892 Bath NH, son of Wilbur Stevens & Alice May (Chase) Chase. In the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Censuses he is found living in Bath, New Hampshire with his parents and siblings Ellwood Dennis (who m. Nellie Austin); George K. (d. 1901 of paresis); Ida M. (who m. Howard Libby); Oscar Stevens (who m. Mabel E. Fadden); Wilbur Stevens Jr. (who m. Ada Besaw-Wilkins); and Lena May (who m. John E. Callahan and d. 5 Oct 1918 of pneumonia from influenza).

On 5 June 1917 his WWI Registration form was completed in Bath NH. Leon Chase was 24 years old, occupation Farming, employed by Harry Noods, Bath NH. He stated he was supporting his father and mother.  A personal description stated he was tall, with medium build, blue eyes and brown hair.  Following recruitment he was sent to Camp Upton, NY for training.

1917 Postcard showing marching soldier-trainees at Camp Upton.

A National Library of Medicine report states that by September 1918, though over 14 000 cases of influenza had been noted at Camp Devens, resulting in 757 deaths, a travel ban had not yet been imposed.  “A contingent of replacement troops departed from Camp Devens to Camp Upton, Long Island, New York, where influenza emerged on 13 September 5, 1918. During this so-called 2nd wave of the flu “27·5% (437 224) of over 1·5 million men in U.S. Army training camps were hospitalized for respiratory illness, with a case-fatality rate that peaked at 5·1% in September 12 while in the week of 4 October the highest number of deaths from influenza was reached with 6160 fatalities.”  It was during this time that Leon Chase contracted influenza and died at Camp Upton, Long Island NY on 28 Sep 1918 of lobar pneumonia.   His body was returned to his home for burial in his family’s plot in Village Cemetery, Bath NH.

It stalked into camp when the day was damp
And chilly and cold.
It crept by the guards
And murdered my pards
With a hand that was clammy and bony and bold;
And its breath was icy and mouldy and dank,
And it killed so speedy
And gloatingly greedy
That it took away men from each company rank.
from SOLDIER RHYMES. Written While in the Service. By Joshua Bryan Lee, 1918.


[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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3 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Bath

  1. Michael says:

    It’s hard to conceptualize the devastation that the Spanish Influenza inflicted on the world, particularly because I have this impression of the world being much less mobile at that time, at least on a global scale. And despite that, there was just enough movement to have a global pandemic and health catastrophe on our hands.

    The poem is a touching addition.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Well, the military training camps in the United States, in my opinion anyway, had the greatest impact on spreading the disease. If you look at the history of them especially from September-November of 1918 at the height of the pandemic, you will see that someone unknown apparently made a decision to get the troops trained and to Europe, regardless of the disease. The camps should have been immediately isolated and quarantined until the cases were zero but instead they transferred troops from one camp to another, onto ships and then to Europe. I have a story coming up about a WWI ship I call a “Death Ship” that you may find interesting.

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

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