New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Stratford

Post-WWI postcard showing the Stratford NH Soldiers’ Monument at Post Office Square.

My first grateful acknowledgement for the contents of this story needs to go to Jeannette R. Thompson who wrote “History of the Town of Stratford, New Hampshire, 1773-1925,” that was published by the vote of the town in 1925. Without Jeannette Thompson’s compilation of World War I soldiers from Stratford, this WWI history story would have been so much more difficult to research.   According to that town history, seventy-five enlisted men and women were sent into military service, being 9-3/8% of the entire population. Only one other location in New Hampshire sent as many of its young people to war.

The local citizens of Stratford were generous in their giving to “War Work” i.e.the Liberty Loan and Victory Bond campaigns. A full list of Stratford Soldiers in the World War can be found in “History of the Town of Stratford,” on page 286. For this article I will simply transcribe their names, and you can follow the link above to view details on each man or woman. Some were sent to Europe early in the fighting, serving in ambulance crews, fighting in the trenches, U.S. Coastal Patrol, Merchant Marine, in Canadian forces, as nurses or medical staff. Those who enlisted or were recruited later served on the home front in training camps and aviation schools.

Following the war, the veterans of the War from North Stratford met and formed a post of the American Legion that they named the Harry L. Curtis Post No. 52, named after the soldier who first gave his life during WWI from that town. The local Knights of Pythias provided a meeting place for them, free of charge and the first meeting was held in 1919. By Memorial Day they had 30 members.

In 1923, during the 150th anniversary of the town, a soldiers’ monument was presented to the town of Stratford, through the Old Home Week Committee. Hon. Garvin R. Magoon of Lancaster NH, a former resident of the town, offered the dedication address. The monument was unveiled by Leslie E. Barnett, a WWI veteran and Mr. Antipas Young, a veteran of the Civil War, both residents.

Photograph of Soldiers’ Monument, North Stratford NH by Ken Gallager at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The monument was placed in Post Office Square, North Stratford village (see postcard at top of page). The town history describes the early monument: The monument “is constructed of cobble stones, and is pyramidal in form, with a triangular plot artistically set in turf surrounding the same, with a small iron rail set in a slab about eighteen inches high. Through the courtesy and help of the Hon. George H. Moses, United States Senator from New Hampshire, the town was loaned two deck guns and mountings, taken from the U.S.S. Battleship New Hampshire, which was being dismantled at the Philadelphia Navy Yard at that time. These the town committee placed on opposite corners of the triangle, one pointing down the Daniel Webster Highway and the other up the same highway. On the other corner of the triangle, is a large three hundred pound shell, taken from one of the numerous carloads of its kind shipped over the Grand Trunk Railroad to Portland, Maine from Canadian manufacturing plants, for use overseas. On the three side of the monument proper are inserted bronze tablets, about eighteen by twenty-four inches in which are cast the names of Stratford’s citizen who have participated in various wars in which the United States of America have been engaged.” [Editor’s note: the monuments sit in the same location today.].

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STRATFORD New Hampshire’s
Soldiers (et al) in the World War

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Horatio N. Allen, Leslie E. Barnett, Loren J. Barrow, Richard L. Barrows, Fred. L. Bartlett, Harold L. Baldwin, Howard Beede, Frank J. Blodgett, Bishop Brown, Irving D. Blodgett, Joseph S. Braideau, Daniel Ambrose Buckley, Irvin Chaffee, Isaac J. Connelly, George J. McCrea, Burt Cullens, Ernest J. Curtis, Walter B. Curtis, Edward J. Daley, Mildred Catherine Daley, Nellie H. Daley, Albert E. Davidson, Joseph J. Davidson, Elmer Egan, Neal D. Farnsworth, Henry J. Guay, Harold Hapgood, William S. Hapgood, Thomas Hill, Hazen B. Hinman, Ralph M. Hutchins, Marlon A. Jonah, Cleveland Jordan, John A. Kennedy, William J. King, Fred Latouch, Alfred O. Liberty, Joseph Liberty, Charles C. McMann Jr., Donald L. Needham, James Nelson, William Nelson, Leland Nelson, Eugene Nickerson, Charles J. Paradis, Carlos Henry Parker, Charles G. Platt, Franklin I. Porter, John E. Rainey, David B. Riggie, Claude L. Robertson, Clifford S. Robertson, Walter J. Robarge, Leo N. Severy, Leonard L. Shoff, Maynard R. Schoff, Merla A. Schoff, George H. Swett, James Charles Thompson, Samuel J. Valley, Harold Wheeler, Jerry Williams, George L. Willey, Clinton Williams, Everett J. Williams, Wendell P. Williams, William L. Wright.

There were sisters from Stratford NH who served during WWI:
– Nurse: Mildred Catherine Daley, Nov 6, 1918; Unit 15, Nurse, Plattsburg Barracks; Camp Lee, Va; Walter Reed Hospital, Washington D.C.
– Yeoman: Nellie H. Daley, October 1, 1918; Yeoman (F), Naval Hospital, Portsmouth NH.

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HEROES of STRATFORD N.H.
Casualties of World War I

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Harry L. Curtis, Reg. Army, Engineers, Co. B, 6th Regt. A.E.F., Corporal, seriously wounded April 6, 1918; died May 10, 1918 (see sketch) [1]

Walter George Dale, Reg. army, Aug 1, 1914; Inft. 1st Bat., Welsh Regt. Eng. Exped Force; killed, first Battle of the Marne, April 18, 1915. [2]

Frederick Day, National Guard, July 1917; 101st Engineering, 26th Div., A.E.F., died in France, pneumonia 1917. [3]

Roy G. Estes, National Army, July 1917, Inft, 23rd 101st Regt. Ft. Ethan Allen, Syracuse NY; France, killed in action. [4]

To this list from the town’s history I add one more:

Eugene J. Belanger, Private, U.S. Army, 57th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, Died of disease, October 14, 1918 in France. [5]

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  B I O G R A P H I E S
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Insignia of the 6th U.S. Engineers during WWI

[1] Corporal Harry L. Curtis was born 26 February 1889 in Stratford NH, son of Hazen Wheeler & Clarissa “Clara” (Lindsay) Curtis.  In 1900 and 1910 he was living in Stratford, New Hampshire with his parents and siblings who include Ernest Jordan (1892-1968), Walter Bishop (1893-1983), Vivian who m. Arthur H. Dodge), Della Edna (who m. Thomas F. Fallon), Clyde F (1899-1989), and Alease Gladys (m1) — Barber; m2d) Everett F. Chapman).  During WWI he served in Company B., 6th U.S. Engineers.  Corporal Harry L. Curtis’ engineering unit’s main goal was to build and repair bridges and roads, being stationed behind the British lines.  They were, however, called upon to fight in the trenches. He was shipped to Europe on 4 December 1917 from Hoboken NJ aboard the ship George Washington. He died of disease on 6 May 1918 in  France, and is buried in the Somme American Cemetery and Memorial, France.  [Note his biography in the town history varies somewhat stating that he was wounded April 6, 1918, and died May 10, 1918.  He apparently was recovering from wounds when he contracted pneumonia and died from that disease].

[2] Private Walter George Dale, was born January 1887 in Kingston (or Rexton) New Brunswick, Canada, son of William F. & Elizabeth E. (Foster) Dale. His family moved to New Hampshire about 1887. In the 1900 U.S. Census he is shown living with his family in Stratford NH, and his siblings include William F. Jr. (who m. Blanche Archer) and Richard (who m. 1927 to Carrie Perry-Harriman).  Walter G. Dale served in the Regular Commonwealth Army (United Kingdom) enlisting 1 August 1914 in the Infantry, 1st Battalion, Welsh Regiment, English Expeditionary Force.  He was killed in the first Battle of the Marne, April 18, 1915.  Service # 19497.  His remains are interred somewhere in Europe.  His name is recognized on the Menin Gate [the Menin Gate bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient, who have no known grave]. His parents and siblings are buried at Baldwin Cemetery, Lancaster NH.

[3]  Sergt. Frederick Drew Day. The Gold Star Record of Massachusetts provides a detailed biography as follows: “Day, Frederick Drew, Sergeant; died 22 Jan 1918 at Base Hospital 15, Chaumont, of disease. Enl. 8 June 1916 Co. A, 1st Corps Cadets, Mass N.G.; reported for duty 25 July 1917; mustered 4 Aug Co A 1st Corps Cadets Mass N.G. (Co A, 101st Engrs, 26th Div). Corporal 24 June 1917. Sergeant 23 Aug 1917. Oversease 26 Sep 1917. Born 28 Aug 1893 at Stratford NH, son of Fred N. (deceased) and Ellen J. (Drew) Day; brother of Esther J. (wife of Clarence Lothrop Tower). Clerk, Blodgett & Co. bankers. Resident in Massachusetts 16 years. Dartmouth 1915; prepared at Newton High School. of Auburndale MA.”  The Newton MA War Memorial book states: “”He was one of the first to go overseas, leaving Boston September 24, 1917. He contracted spinal meningitis and died at Chaumont, France on January 22, 1918.”

[4] Roy G. Estes was born George Leroy Estes on 2 January 1893 in Maidstone VT, son of Noah & Lettie (Rich) Estes.   The Barre Daily Times, Barre VT 11 July 1918 published: “Roy G. Estes, who has been missing in Action since June 6, was born in Maidstone and lived there with his uncle, George B. Rich until his enlistment in 1917 at the age of 25. He enlisted at Fort Ethan Allen, Burlington, with his lifelong chum, Leslie Elliott, who is also reported as missing in action.” Roy served as a private in Co. M., 23rd Infantry, and was killed in action 6 June 1918. A more detailed biography can be found in “Heroes of Groveland-Northumberland” where his name appears on their memorial.  Roy is buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau France [as RAY Estes] and there is a cenotaph for him in Taylor Cemetery, Maidstone Vermont.

[5]  Eugene James Belanger, was born 23 January 1891 in Whitefield NH son of John & Zoda/Ive (Ollair/Allaire) Belanger. He married 14 May 1918 in Gorham NH to Jennie Bergeron, daughter of Louis & Elizabeth (Laflour) Bergeron.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War I on 7 June 1917 at Fort Ethan Allen, and was assigned to Co. F, 57th Pioneer Infantry. His rank was Private/Cook. His service number was 1230832.  He was sent overseas aboard the ship Leviathan, contracted influenza, and died of disease on 14 October 1918. He was buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Grave 8, row 43.


[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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