New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Amherst

Lithograph Poster, Do Your Part–Buy US Government Loans. Herbert Andrew Paus aratist. Niagara Lithography. Prints and Engravings Collection, Historic New England. c1917-1918

During WWI all the citizens of Amherst were involved in some way. By October of 1917 the National Liberty Loan Committee had placed Amherst in a “zone” along with Milford, Wilton, Lyndeborough, Temple, Mont Vernon and Hollis, to raise subscriptions (funds) as a group in the form of Liberty Bonds. Local newspaper advertising was already advocating the eating of more fish than meat in order to ship beef across the ocean for the troops and starving Europeans. The town’s people held regular Red Cross Membership drives led by women district leaders, raised money to support that organization and made clothing and bandages for the troops. ‘Patriotic’ acts were in abundance.

Photograph of Amherst New Hampshire’s WWI monument, taken by Richard S. Marsh. Used with permission.

The town of Amherst New Hampshire recognizes its veterans from various wars with a statue (Civil War Soldier) and monuments also to WWI, WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. These memorials to the heroic sit on the green and in a triangle at Church, School and Middle Streets in Amherst NH. The Civil War statue was placed first, Martin Milmore was the sculptor, installed 9 December 1871, but not formally dedicated until 19 June 1890. Updated plaques were added to the triangle and re-dedicated on 4 July 1985.

At least 44 Amherst men were in service during World War I.  Two of them would not return alive–Paul G. Blandin, and Percy N. Davis.  The World War I monument is the focus in this story. The inscription reads as follows:

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
TOWN OF AMHERST
A TRIBUTE OF RESPECT
TO THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE
WORLD WAR

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

The Honor Roll from the Town of Amherst’s 1920 Annual Report

*PAUL G. BLANDIN
*PERCY N. DAVIS

/LEFT COLUMN/
GUY E. BILLS
ELGIN J. BARTLETT
HORACE R. BOUTELLE
LEON K. BOUTELLE
HAROLD B. BURTT
EVERETT E. BYRD
SAMUEL A. CALDWELL
CARROLL C. CARKIN
MALCOLM D. CLARK
PETER E. CLARKIN
ROYAL E. CHASE
RALPH W. CHASE
ALBERT W. CONVERSE
JAMES P. DOYLE
DANIEL J. DOYLE
WENDELL W. GREENLEE
HENRY E. HALL
RODNEY J. HODGMAN
ELMER E. HODGMAN
WILLIAM H. HODGMAN
FREDERICK V. HOWARD

/RIGHT COLUMN/
GUY E. KIDDER
LELAND C. KIDDER
RALPH G. MANNING
EVERETT W. MERRILL
WILLARD H. PARKER
FRANK G. PETTENGILL
TRACY L. RAYMOND
EARLE ROBERTS
FRED SANVILLE
WILLIAM SANVILLE
FRED E. SPRAGUE
HENRY L. STOCKWELL
CARL H. VOGEL
BYRON B. WALKER
ROBERT T. WESTON
wALTER k. WESTON
KENNETH E. WETHERBEE
WILLIAM R. WHITE
WILLIAM E WHITEHOUSE
WALTER R. WHITEHOUSE
FRED WHITTEMORE

Closeup of Amherst NH WWI monument, photograph by Richard S. Marsh. Used with permission.

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
HEROES OF AMHERST NH
✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

Paul G. Blandin | Private | Killed in Action 13 June 1918, Chateau-Thierry Sector, France  |  23rd Co., 6th Machine Gun Battalion,  U.S. Marine Corps. | Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn NY | [1]

Percy N. Davis | Private | Died of Disease (pleurisy and pneumonia) 21 Feb 1917  San Antonio, TX| Co. B, N.H. Signal Corps | Meadow View Cemetery, Amherst NH | [2]

 

 

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪BIOGRAPHIES✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

Barre Daily Times newspaper clipping re: Pvt. Paul Blandin.

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
[1] Paul Gilbert Blandin
was born between 1899-1902 to Estella L. (Barrett) Joslin/Joslyn. Estella divorced from Edwin Joslyn on 1 June 1903  and married on 17 Oct 1903 to Harvey G. Blandin. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Paul G. Blandin is listed as “adopted son” of Harvey G. Blandin.   Various newspaper reports [see later] state that he ran away from home and joined the U.S. Marines, and as early as 1917 he is indeed listed on USMC rolls. He was a member of the 23rd Co. 6th Machine Gun Battalion, USMC and was sent to the battlefields of Europe.  He was killed in action on 13 June 1918 in the Chateau-Thierry Sector of France.  When the war ended, his body was returned home on the ship Wheaton, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 6 August 1921. His family arranged for his burial in  Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn NY.   Newspaper notices follow.  Paul G. Blandin’s name is inscribed on the Amherst WWI Honor Roll, and also on the NH WWI Roll of Honor, Doric Hall, State House, Concord.

USMC Casualties WWI: BLANDIN, Paul Gilbert, Pvt. 23rd 6th M.G. Bn
KILLED IN ACTION June 13, 1918 in the Chateau-Thierry Sector.
Pittsfield, Maine. [His parents moved here while he was in service]

Boston Post, 17 July 1918. Private P.G. Blandin. Private Paul G. Blandin of Amherst was yesterday named on the Marine Corps casualty list as dead of wounds. He ran away from home when but 19 years old and enlisted in the United States Marines. He died from his wounds July 15. The young man enlisted in the marines at the outbreak of the war, and was among the first Americans to reach France.  [Credited to Amherst NH in newspapers]

The Barre Daily Times 30 July 1918.  “Pvt Paul C. Blandin, reported recently as having been killed in action in France, was once a resident of Windsor. His parents live in Pittsfield, Me. and he ran away from home to enlist in the marines. He was only 19 at the time of his death.”

Aerial View Camp Wilson, San Antonio, Texas, c1917. U.S. Military photographic print. National Archives.

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
[2] Percy N. Davis
was born October 1897 in New Hampshire. In 1900 he was living in the NH Orphans Home, Franklin, Merrimack Co. NH. By 1910 he was living on the dairy farm of Frank W. & Annie M. Noyes in Amherst NH (he was age 12).

During World War I he served in Co. B, New Hampshire Signal Corps.  This company was sent to Camp Wilson in Texas in San Antonio TX  when he apparently contracted measles, which resulted in pleurisy and pneumonia, and died there 21 February 1917.  His remains were shipped home to New Hampshire, and he is buried in Meadow View Cemetery, Amherst NH. Several newspaper stories explain his family, service, death and burial as follows.

Milford Cabinet, 22 February 1917 [A story about the NH Signal Corps in Texas]. Wirecart Driver Davis has been sent to the base hospital. They thought he had dangue fever but it turned out to be measles, so Sergt. Marden, in whose tent Davis was, had to pack up his belongings with Warks., Corp. Boudreau, and H.J. Dube and go into quarantine for 14 days.”

Amherst NH Train Depot from 1997 Annual Report

The Milford Cabinet, 1 March 1917. “Soldier’s Body Reaches Home. Tuesday noon the body of Percy N. Davis of Amherst reached Milford from San Antonio, Texas. Davis, a member of the Signal Corps, died in Texas last week after an attack of measles and pneumonia at the hospital. The body was taken to Amherst where funeral services were held yesterday afternoon at the home of the young man’s foster-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Noyes. Members of the Sons of Veterans from Milford attended the funeral and furnished a firing squad at the grave. Napoleon Dube, a member of the Corps accompanied the body on its long journey to New Hampshire. Dube is on special furlough and probably will not have to return to the South before the Corps is sent home.”

Milford Cabinet, 1 March 1917.  “The funeral of Percy Noble Davis was held at the Noyes home Wednesday at 1:30 conducted by the Rev. A.W. Remington. The body arrived from San Antonio the day previous. Members of the Signal Corps, Sons of Veterans, Lawrence Engine Co. and a large company of friends were present to show their love and sympathy to the living and to him who nobly did his duty for the country. The casket was covered with the flag and beautiful flowers from the Signal Corps, A.A. Association, Lawrence Engine Co., Grange, village school, Baptist C.E. and many private gifts of flowers from friends. The bearers were Harold Burtt, Everett Hall, Albert Hubley and Willie Tuttle of the U.S.N. Burial was in Meadowview with military honors by Sons of Veterans.

July 26, 1918 Wilton Journal. HONOR DEAD COMRADE. “Saturday a squad of a dozen members of the Signal Corps, headed by Lieutenants Gault and Wilson, went to Amherst where, with fitting exercises, they erected a marker on the grave of Percy Davis. The marker, cast in bronze, was designed by Walter Lackey, Master Signal Electrician of the Corps, and is a handsome memorial. Percy Davis was a member of the Signal Company last year and went to Texas with the Milford troop when the soldiers were called out for duty on the Mexican border. His death occurred in the hospital at San Antonio shortly before his company was ordered back to New Hampshire.


[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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