Clement A. Jones signature

Clement Archie Jones died on this day in 1918, after a raid by the United States’ 310th Infantry Battalion on the fortified Mon Plaisir farm near Thiaucourt, France. The World War Service Record of Rochester and Monroe County New York described events in the following way:

He was wounded in action September 22, 1918, in the Argonne Forest, and killed when a shell destroyed the ambulance that was taking him to a casualty clearing station.

Jones was initially buried at Rembercourt, Meurthe-et-Moselle. His body was disinterred and reburied on May 19th, 1919, in Grave Number 156, Section 9, Plot 3, St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.


Elmer Worden signatureElmer Worden was killed near Camp Rathbun on this day in 1918. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps in Winnipeg on January 31st, 1918 with the regimental number 154631 and was officially appointed to the Corps on February 4th. He was described as five feet nine and three quarter inches tall, with a ruddy complexion, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

The Royal Air Force’s report of the accident noted the following facts:

Date of Casualty: 16.9.18
Where occurred: 2½ miles east of Rathbun aerodrome
Type of Machine: C1363
Nature and Cause of Accident: Killed. Came down in spin, made steep nose dive & turned over on back before striking ground.
Result of Accident: Killed

The Court of Inquiry into Worden’s accident found that his head had taken the brunt of the impact because his seat belt did not restrain him enough inside the aircraft. A sketch of a proposed improvement to the seat belt is included in the court record:

Sketch of proposed seat belt by Captain Coats in Attorney General's 1918 file RG 4-32/2610

Sketch of proposed seat belt by Captain Coats in Attorney General’s 1918 file RG 4-32/2610

Worden was born in Plankinton, South Dakota on June 16th, 1892, the son of Lavander Worden and Carrie (née Olson). He had been working as a construction manager in Grande Prairie, Alberta before he enlisted. Elmer’s family were living in Colville, Washington when he died and he was buried in the Highland Cemetery there.

The Colville Examiner reported Worden’s death:

Elmer Worden death report

The Colville Examiner report of September 21st, 1918 on Worden’s death, courtesy of Chronicling America



Expected to Leave Soon for Overseas – Details Have Not Been Received by Relatives

News was received Monday by Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Worden of Colville that their son Elmer was killed in an airplane crash at the aviation field at Camp Rathburn, Deseronto, Ontario, on that day. The details of the accident have not as yet reached this city, but word came the last of this week that the body would be shipped here for burial. Funeral arrangements cannot be completed until date of arrival is known.

Elmer Worden was 26 years old and enlisted in Alberta last winter. His father is in the implement business in Colville with the Stevens County Implement company and his mother and two younger sisters live in this city. He also is survived by a brother who is employed in the Portland shipyards and an aunt, Mrs. James McCormick, who lives in Spokane. The young man was expected to leave soon for overseas. The news of his sudden death came as a sad shock to his bereaved family.

Austin Green signatureOn this day in 1918 Austin Green died of wounds caused by shrapnel from a shell when he was serving with the 4th Battalion in France.

Austin Green circumstances of death extract

“Died of Wounds”

Whilst with his Company going forward to its assembly positions about midnight on September 2nd 1918, during an advance on the Canal du Nord, a shell burst nearby and he was hit in the chest by a piece of shrapnel. His wounds were dressed by a comrade and he was taken to No.42 Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed shortly afterwards.

Austin Green was buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension near Arras in France.

He is also remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

Ernest Sharpe signature

On this day in 1918, Ernest Sharpe died of wounds he sustained in the Battle of the Scarpe with the 21st Battalion in France. His unit’s war diary describing the three-day advance can be read online (page 1, page 2, page 3).

This extract from the diary entry for August 27th shows the increasing importance of the use of aircraft as weapons of war:

Extract from 21st Battalion war diary 27th August 1918

…During the night our men had little or no rest.

While during the operations of the 26th our aircraft proved their superiority to that of the enemy, German machines were very active on the 27th. They temporarily held up the advance of our men by machine gun fire and the use of light bombs.

Ernest Sharpe was buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, to the northwest of Arras in France.

Headstone for Ernest Sharpe

Courtesy of The 21st Battalion CEF site

He is also commemorated on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

Ernest’s widow, Martha Ann Sharpe, married Frank Culhane, another Deseronto veteran of the 21st Battalion, on December 5th, 1919 in Toronto.

Arhtur Brace Spooner signature
On this day in 1918 Arthur Brace Spooner was killed in a flying accident while in training as a cadet at the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing at Deseronto. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps on January 10th, 1918 in Winnipeg and was appointed to the Corps in Toronto on January 14th with the regimental number 154175. He was five feet six inches tall and had previously been working as a telegrapher.His accident happened on the morning of August 28th. Spooner had been sent up to practise spinning in aircraft C-1044. He tried to come out of a nose dive over a farm belonging to the McAlpine family of Tyendinaga (they owned property on Lot 28, Concession 1 in 1911). Mr Michael McAlpine described the accident at a Court of Inquiry held the same day:

Detail from Attorney General's 1918 file RG4-32/2062 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail from Attorney General’s 1918 file RG4-32/2062 at the Archives of Ontario

2nd Witness Mr. M. McAlpin, Civilian, states:-

I saw the machine coming down in a nose dive. It then flattened out and the pilot put on his engine and flew over the barns at about 100 feet, his right wing struck an apple tree, the fuselage going on. I rushed over to the accident and had to undo the pilots belt in order to extricate him. He was already dead.

Spooner was born on May 28th, 1892, the son of William and Mary Spooner of Moosomin, Saskatchewan. He was buried in Moosomin’s South Side Cemetery.

Arthur Spooner's headstone

From Find a Grave, courtesy of Dean Weckman


Clayton Herbert Mastin signature

Pharmaceutical chemist Clayton Herbert Mastin enlisted in Aldershot, Nova Scotia on this day in 1918. He was born in Deseronto on September 20th, 1893, the son of Melburn Masten and Minerva Jane (née Bruin). His elder sister, Hattie, had enlisted as a nurse in January 1916 and his younger brothers Percy and Garnet were both serving in the army.

Clayton joined the army with the regimental number 2770006. He was five feet six inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His service record shows that he caught influenza in Ottawa in October 1918. He recovered and was one of the men who left Vancouver on the SS Protesilaus  on December 26th, 1918 as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to Siberia. He returned from Vladivostok on the SS Empress of Japan in May 1919 and was discharged from the army on June 12th, 1919 in Kingston. He was suffering from bronchitis and was classified as medically unfit for further service.

Mastin left Canada for the US on December 22nd, 1926, crossing the border at Detroit to work as a chemist at Parke-Davis and Company.Emigration of Clayton Herbert Mastin

Detail from the McGill honour roll, 1914-1918

Detail from the McGill honour roll, 1914-1918

James McMillan Hacker signature
James McMillan Hacker died in a crash at Camp Rathbun near Deseronto on this day in 1918. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on September 10th, 1917 with the regimental number 74813. There was an interruption in his service in January 1918 when he was thought to have deserted, but he returned at the end of the month and was reinstated. He was in training as a cadet with 90 Canadian Training Squadron.

Hacker was born in Prince Edward Island on November 4th, 1885, the son of Thomas Henry Hacker and Sarah (née McMillan). His parents had both died by the time he enlisted: he gave his sister, Louise, as his next of kin. She was living in Summerside, PEI. Hacker was five feet five and three quarter inches tall. He had been a student at Macdonald Agricultural College at McGill University in Montreal between 1912 and 1916.

The Court of Inquiry into Hacker’s crash, held the next day, found that he had fallen out of aircraft C-1324 while practising spins. Here is the evidence from Second Lieutenant F.R. Winter:

Detail of Attorney General's 1918 file RG4-32/1792 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail of Attorney General’s 1918 file RG4-32/1792 at the Archives of Ontario

2nd. Witness. 2/Lieut. F.R. Winter, 90 C.T.S. R.A.F.

States:- I watched Cadet Hacker do one turn of a spin, in machine C-1324, he came out and dove for about 500 ft. straight down and went past the vertical and went on his back and fell out of the machine from a height of approximately 2500 feet. The machine then glided down and landed upside down.

[signed] F.R. Winter Lieut

The Court found that Hacker had died because his seat belt had somehow become unfastened. It recommended that a new type of belt be used in future.

James was buried in the Summerside People’s Cemetery in Prince Edward Island.