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Stories of Service

Lester W. Chase

Submitted by: T.J. Cullinane

598e42e80de17 Lester W. Chase

Lester W. Chase served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1916 - 1918.


The First to Fall; a Dreaded Milestone

Private Lester W. Chase, a shoemaker turned soldier, was the first service member from Derry, New Hampshire, to die of wounds sustained in combat during the First World War. Even with the 100th anniversary of his death fast approaching, his name remains firmly rooted in the fabric of the town as his fellow veterans elected to designate their meeting place as the Lester W. Chase Post Nine of the American Legion. Three generations of Legion baseball players have taken to the field with his name emblazoned on their chest, just one example of the community activities conducted in his good name.

Chase was pre-deceased by two Derry soldiers who succumbed to pneumonia. Charles E. Bitgood died in France on February 3, 1918, while assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division’s 15th Artillery Regiment. Just 22 years old, he was buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, in Romagne, France. An excerpt from the Derry Enterprise published on February 12, 1918, contained the following sentiment, “Charles E. Bitgood's memory will ever be honored as being the first soldier boy enlisted from Derry to answer the last roll call on the soil of France, while engaged in the service of his country in that foreign land.”

In spite of this exhortation, it is the memory of Lester W. Chase that remains honored rather than that of Bitgood. Such is the “glamor” of death in combat. As we’ll soon see, the death of Lester Chase was anything but glamorous. Based on the information currently available, Frederick R. Huson, the other Derry soldier who died before Chase, appears to have passed away just two weeks after joining the Army. Huson died while undergoing basic training on April 9, 1918 at Camp Devens in neighboring Massachusetts. Bitgood and Huson, along with Chase, are memorialized on the tablet set aside for those who died in service on the town’s World War One monument.

Read more: Lester W. Chase

Purushottam Bhikajee Mulye

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Purushottam Bhikajee Mulye served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known March 25, 1918 to December 17, 1918.


Purushottam Bhikajee Mulye was born on Feburary 14, 1884 in Bombay, India to Bhekajie V. Mulye and Gungabai Nimker. He arrived to New York City on October 27, 1912 from Southampton, England on the ship St. Louis, which was under the command of Master F M Dassow.

Mulye made his way to Ohio State University and was part of the Cosmopolitan Club, which helped native and foreign students interact with each other and learn about each others' cultures. Mulye then went to Sunbury, Pennsylvania, where enlisted in the U.S Army on March 25, 1918 at age of 24.

As part of his service he was sent to the school of aerial photography in Rochester, New York until October 3, 1918. Then he was assigned to Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia until October 5, 1918. Afterwards, Mulye was with the school of aerial photography at Langley Field until November 12, 1918. He also was at Madison Barracks in New York at some point during his service. His second to last assignment was at Camp Garden City in New York until November 18, 1918.

Read more: Purushottam Bhikajee Mulye

LiberAntonio Bonsanto

Submitted by: Jim Rosati {grandson}

LiberAntonio Bonsanto Mug

LiberAntonio Bonsanto served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 8 July 1918 to 9 July 1919.


He served with the 127th Engineers in France from September 1918 until July 1919. He never spoke a lot about it but I found out that he served honorably as a foreign national. The documents are the only thing we have as to his service.

 Update: June, 2017

Grandpa and World War I

Newly-released information through Ancestry, several emails to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, and the book, “Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War”, a more complete picture has emerged as to Grandpa's military service during World War 1.

Read more: LiberAntonio Bonsanto

Thomas William Butterbaugh

Submitted by: Raymond W Schaffranek

598d2598c190e Pvt Thomas W Butterbaugh picture

Thomas William Butterbaugh served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 22, 1918 - November 11, 1918.


Thomas William Butterbaugh, the first son of William and Mary (Nagle) Butterbaugh (aka Booterbaugh), was born on December 23, 1894, in Mark Hanna, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. He was working in a coal mine at age 15.

At age 22, he was single, living in Lilly, Cambria Co, PA, and working as a coal miner in Cassandra, PA, when he registered for the military service draft on June 5, 1917.

On July 22, 1918, he was inducted into the US Army at South Fork, PA, and sent to Camp Lee, VA, for training. He served as a Private with the American Expeditionary Forces from September 8, 1918 to November 11, 1918.

On September 8, 1918, he sailed overseas out of Newport News, VA, as part of the 69th Provisional Company August Replacement Draft on the USS Madawaska, which was originally the German steamship Konig Wilhelm II.

Read more: Thomas William Butterbaugh

Oreste Alberighi

Submitted by: Diego Paganini {great-grandnephew}

Oreste AlberighiOreste Alberighi served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known From July 26, 1918 to July 3, 1919.


Oreste Alberighi was born on Jan. 27, 1887 in Gradizza, a small hamlet of Copparo in Ferrara district in Italy. His father was Antonio and his mother unknown.

He was stout, with brown hair, grey eyes and he used to smoke pipe. From this habit he got the Italian nickname of « Pipa Calda ».

He left Italy in April 1912 for New York – Stoneco (and then Beacon) to follow the paths of his stepsister Ernesta Novelli Manzolli that had left Italy the year before to settle in the US after her marriage and the birth of her second child.

Oreste Alberighi did his military service as private in Dutchess in 1917-1918. He was naturalized in Spartanburg SC – in June 8,1918.

After that during WWI he served overseas in France in the company B 51st Pioneer inf - Army serial number 3,181,515 from July 26, 1918 to July 3, 1919.

Read more: Oreste Alberighi

Wali Muhommad

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Wali Muhommad served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 17, 1917 to August 18, 1919.


Private Wali Muhommad was born about 1896 in Peshawar, British India. He enlisted in the U.S Army at the age of 21 on July 17, 1917 in Buffalo, New York. .Muhommad's New York state military service abstract listed his race as white.

He served with Battery A 3rd Field Artillery( Battery A 106 Field Artillery until December 23, 1918. Then he served with Company D Battalion 2 Army military police until April 14, 1919. Muhommad was then with 299 military police company until his discharge.

Muhommad departed from Newport News, Virginia on the ship Matsonia with Battery A 106 Field Artillery on June 6, 1918 He served overseas from June 6, 1918 to August 10, 1919 and was honorably discharged on August 18, 1919.

He filed a petition for naturalization with the New York Supreme Court on August 28, 1919.

On March 8, 1938 at age of 41 Wali Muhommad arrived to New York City from London on the ship American Farmer.


Read more: Wali Muhommad

Max Missel

Submitted by: Joel H. Rosenthal

Max MisselMax Missel served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known December 11,1917 - June 30, 1919. 


Max Missel
405th Telegraph Battalion, U.S. Army Signal Corps
Enlisted: Los Angeles, CA. December 11, 1917
Reported: Camp Lewis, WA. December 15, 1917
Discharged: Presidio, San Francisco, CA . June 30, 1919

Max Missel was born October 18, 1895 in Kovno, Russia (now Kaunas, Lithuania).

Five-year old Max came to the United States with his mother Lipsa and his brother Harry in 1900 or 1901 (exact date not determined). They came to join Max’s older brothers John, Samuel, and Abraham who had already established themselves in Boston.

The youngest of five sons, Max arrived as a Yiddish-speaking boy. He and his family were part of the wave of Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They left to escape religious persecution and to find a better life.

By 1917, Max was a 22-year old telegraph operator working for Western Union in Boston. For reasons lost to history he moved to the west coast. By December of that year, he enlisted. Max was assigned to the 405th Telegraph Battalion, Signal Corps, Company D. The 405th trained at the newly-established Camp Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington.

Read more: Max Missel

Gordit Singh

Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

no photo 300Gordit Singh served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known August 7, 1917 to February 14, 1919.


Gordit Singh was born in India about 1883. He enlisted in the U.S Army or Regular Army at Fort Slocum in New York on August 7, 1917.

He was with Company L 50th Infantry until August 10, 1917. Then he was with Company L 23rd Infantry until his discharge.

Singh was promoted to private first class on December 10, 1917. He served overseas from September 7, 1917 to November 23, 1918.

Singh was honorably discharged on February 14, 1919 and was reported as 10% disabled at the time.

Gorbit Singh died on September 11, 1934 and is buried at the Cypress Hills National Cemetery in New York.

Read more: Gordit Singh

James John Dolan

Submitted by: Ed Saunders

5980983709a90 Stories of service 1

James John Dolan served in World War 1 with the United States Coast Guard. The dates of service are: Known January 1917-August 1918.


Records of the state adjutant general, Montana state library, Helena, Montana, read James John Dolan as the sole World War I Coast Guard veteran enlisting from Montana.

He apparently served two tours-of-duty in the Coast Guard. His last tour was from Miles City, Montana. Dolan enlisted January 6, 1917, and served one year, seven months, and six days on the Coast Guard Revenue Cutter, Bear.

Dolan is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California.





A Tradition of Service Logo 50Hiram Edwin Piper

Submitted by: Richard Piper {son}

no photo 300

Hiram Edwin Piper served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1919.


Hiram E. Piper entered the Army at Camp Dodge. He said he became a soldier when he was issued his hat and a broomstick to begin training. At first there was no rifle or uniform. Letters home told of his training and his concern for their sick cow at home on the farm.

He was a Sergeant by the time he was at Camp Pike, Arkansas in the winter of 1917-1918. Then he went to Camp Dix N.J. He said he remembered waking up in a huge gym filed with soldiers in cots and a startled nurse told him she thought he was going to die, but now that he was awake he would probably live. He asked why civilians were in the gym and she said he had the Spanish flu and had been unconscious. The civilians were family members trying to care for their sick sons because there were not enough doctors or nurses. Many soldiers had died and they were trying to help as many as they could.

My Grandpa Piper recovered and went to Paris France. He got off the troop train one foggy night to stretch his legs and peeked inside a white railroad car with a red cross on it. Inside he saw men without faces, arms or legs who were returning from the front lines. He said he deeply regretted being curious. By the time he reached his unit the war was ending and he saw no action.

Later in his 80's he would have morning coffee with his Army buddies in town. One had lost a leg when his unit was fighting in France while Grandpa was fighting the Spanish flu in New Jersey. He said he always enjoyed my letters to him when I was in the army in South Korea in the early 70's.


Charles Edward Dilkes

Submitted by: Georgia Harris {daughter}

Charles Edward DilkesCharles Edward Dilkes served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 1, 1917 to September 25, 1919.


Charles Edward Dilkes

OUR FATHER, CHARLES EDWARD DILKES, kept a DAILY DIARY of his military service. His memoir, based on this diary, begins with the night of him leaving America. He wrote: "I wish you could share my anticipation with me when on August 6, 1917, at 6:30 p.m. all men were assembled with full field equipment and at 7:00 p.m. we marched through the huge iron gates...full of spirit and hope." Finally arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey, he boarded the transport Finland, dropped down the bay off Tomkinsville, New York, while the "throbbing of engines acquainted us with our departure from the shores of America." It did not take long for the situation to change. A few weeks later on August 20, 1917, his fleet was within the danger zone. "I was coming on deck when a big explosion occurred, shaking the ship...The Captain from the bridge shouted out, "Why the hell don't you shoot that submarine!...Immediately our fore gun blazed away sending forth its deadly shell..."

When the U.S. declared war on Germany in April 1917, our father’s patriotic spirit rose within him; he volunteered on the 1st of May. With an engineering background, he was assigned to Company F as a combat engineer in the 1st Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and fought under the command of General John J. Pershing. He earned the rank of sergeant, and was consistently called upon to lead his men to build first aid stations, communication trenches, and stables; to repair roads and parapets of the trenches; and to prepare the terrain for battle. This work was often done while he and his men were under enemy fire, which often meant putting down the shovel and picking up the rifle. His recordings of daily and significant enemy encounters stand out not only as consistent with history, but offered great personal insight into the rigors of war. He did not complain. He did not shirk his duties EVER in War, in his work, or with his family.

Read more: Charles Edward Dilkes, Sgt.


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