Ralph Wellington Shirley was born on 28 May 1896 in Conway, Carroll County NH, son of Arthur R. & Bessie (Moody) Shirley and grandson of Joshua & Mary E. (Woodward) Shirley. He had siblings Lela E. (b 1894), Earl A. (b 1899) and Leon A. (b 1897). According to newspaper and other records, Ralph grew up in Conway NH and Fryeburg Maine, a farmer’s son, attending Fryeburg Academy. He was studying at New Hampshire State College (now called the University of New Hampshire) in the future graduating Class of 1919, but he left to enlist in the United States army.
Ralph was assigned to F Company of the 101st Engineers. His brother, Leon Arthur Shirley also appears to have been a member of the same military group. He was trained and sent to Europe, where he was killed in action on 13 July 1918, probably in the Pas Fini Sector, Lorraine France, where his battalion would have been stationed from July 8 to the 14th, 1918. Continue reading