Omer Boissonneau was born February 5, 1896 in Manchester NH, son of Jean Baptiste [John] & Aurelia (Marcoux) Boissineau [the surname is spelled various ways including Boissinneault /Boissonneault, etc.] He grew up at 14 Kidder Court, living in Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. housing, with most of his family working in the cotton mills. He had siblings, Rebecca, Virginia, Fred, Louis, Arthur, Joseph, Wilfred, Dona, and Stella.
In August of 1917 when he completed his War Registration Card, he listed his name as OMER BOSSONNEAU, residing at 37 Kidder Street Manchester NH, age 21. He stated he was born February 5, 1896 in Manchester NH, and his occupation was that of a Cloth Folder for Amoskeag Mfg Co. He was single, short, of medium stature, with blue eyes light hair.
We know he entered the regular army, and was sent overseas to Europe. Like many men of New Hampshire he was assigned to the Company B., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, the famed Yankee Division.
The Yankee Division in which Omer served was composed of men from mostly New England states and included those in the national guard. He along with others would have assembled at Westfield, Massachusetts, designated the 103rd Infantry on August 22nd, 1917. This regiment engaged on the battlefields of France on February 8, 1918 and they were constantly in the front lines. During World War I the 103rd regiment participated in the battles of Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihel, Meuse-Argonne Ile de France 1918, and Lorraine 1918.
Omer died on 23 July 1918 in France. Various records show he either succumbed to disease or wounds (or both). As was the custom he was originally buried in a graveyard near where he fell. Apparently after the war ended his remains were returned to the United States, for he was re-buried in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall at the NH State House, Concord NH.
For additional stories of Manchester NH military in World War I, see: New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Manchester.
[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].