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Michael Joseph Cleary

Submitted by: Alexander Oross

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Michael Joseph Cleary served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1918.

Michael Joseph Cleary was born in South Amboy on October 17, 1893. He suffered from emphysema and died May 9, 1969 of bronchial pneumonia. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery. His godparents were Patrick Cleary, his grandfather, and his grandmother, Bridget (Hare) Brahney. Michael was 5' 10" tall and red-headed

On June 5, 1917, he registered for the first draft for World War I. He was living with his parents at the time, and his occupation was that of a "powder handler" at the Hercules Powder Company, Parlin, New Jersey. The description furnished at the time of registration was slender build, medium height, blue eyes and red hair.

He enlisted in the United States Army during World War I with his best friend, Luke Lovely. It was a spur of the moment decision while they were on a trip to New York City, and neither young man told his family. When they did not return that evening, the mothers called one another to check the whereabouts of the boys. Their parents were shocked when they found out what "the boys" had done. The two young men received a minimum of training and were shipped to the Western front.

Luke Lovely was killed in France, and Michael Joseph served under General Pershing in France. He served as a Private First Class in Company A, with the 11th Engineers, and was the recipient of a Purple Heart. While serving was badly wounded and as a result of his injuries, he wore a metal plate in his head for the rest of his life.

After the war, Michael Joseph worked for the Michelin Tire Company. He was very smart, was reputed to "speak a little French" and had an excellent memory. After his employment with the tire company, he held various jobs for the city. His last few years were spent confined by illness to the family home on Wilmont Street in South Amboy. He never married.

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