New Hampshire WWI Military: Sergeant Gerald Kenton Clover of New Boston

List of Tuscania Dead from the
Baltimore Sun newspaper of 1918.

Gerald K. Clover was born as Gailand Kent Clover on 29 October 1894 in Paulding, Ohio, son of Homer G. & Verde Elizabeth “Virdie” (Shuster) Clover. In 1910 Gerald was living with his parents, grandfather Kenton Shuster, and one of his siblings in Garfield, Colorado where his father was farming. He had siblings, Homer Russell Clover who was born 3 Feb 1892 in Liberty Center Ohio, an optician who was married lived in Greenfield NH at the same time (he removed to Kansas after WWI); and a sister Donna Margaret Clover who was born in Paulding Ohio and married Dr. Walter Jallis, residing in Somerville MA.

The parents of Gerald K. Clover had moved to New Boston prior to WWI to run a dry goods store in New Boston NH, and they are found there also in the 1920 U.S. Census (and that is Gerald K. Clover’s connection to the town) but his service is credited to Hopewell, Virginia. By 1930 Gerald’s parents and grandfather had moved to Pepperell MA.

Photograph of volunteer riflemen firing the last
volley over the graves of the American Tuscania
victims at Kilnaughton, Scotland. War
Department. National Archives Catalog.

On 24 January 1918 as Sergt. Gerald K. Clover he was a member of the 20th Engineers as the ship left New York City bound for Europe. On 5 February 1918 the Cunard liner, Tuscania, bearing 2179 officers and men of the 32nd National Guard, along with HQ and Companies D, E and F of the 20th Engineers was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine, off the coast of Ireland, where it was headed for England. The 20th Engineers (Forester) is the largest regiment in the world, though only one battalion, the 6th was on the Tuscania, and Gerald K. Clover was among them.

Per the Chattanooga News of 13 Feb 1918 the list of the bodies found from the sunken Tuscania was 171. “They were laid to rest at different points on the Scottish shore. Their graves were are first rudely marked until permanent materials can be obtained. At this time at least 37 bodies were unidentified.” Among those identified and buried here was Gerald K. Clover [the name spelling mistaken as Grover in some lists, but corrected, see photograph at top of page].

Grave marker for Sergeant Gerald
K. Clover. Photograph courtesy
Arlington National Cemetery.

The Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts book gives additional details and corroborates other research on Sergeant Clover as follows: “CLOVER, Gerald Kenton, Sergeant; killed in sinking of transport, “Tuscania,” 5 Feb 1918. Enl. 19 May 1917. Medical Detachment, 6th Bn. 20th Engrs. Corporal 28 Aug 1917. Sergeant 2 Nov 1917. Overseas 24 Jan 1918. Born 13 Oct 1894 at Paulding, Ohio, son of Homer G. and Verdie Elizabeth (Schuster) Clover of Townsend Harbor, brother of Donna M.E. (Wife of Dr. Walter Fellis). Attended Mount Hermon Academy. American Legion Post at New Boston, N.H. named in his honor.”

When the war ended his remains were returned to the United States on the ship Antigone that departed Liverpool England on 18 September 1920, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 29 Sep 1920. and re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Section Eurpn Site 18, Grave 556.  Gerald K. Clover’s name can be found on the New Boston WWI monument, and he is listed on the Honor Roll in the NH State House.

[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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