military training

Casimer Krolikowski signature
Casimer Krolikowski died at the Royal Air Force hospital in Deseronto on this day in 1918 from influenza and pneumonia. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps on June 11th, 1917 in Toronto and had previously served in the Cycle Corps, originally enlisting in Windsor on February 9th, 1917. He was a machinist by trade and worked as a fitter for the air force, maintaining and repairing aircraft engines. He was five feet five and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Krolikowski was born in Warsaw, Poland on January 13th, 1891, the son of Ludwik and Franciszka Krolikowski. Casimer arrived in the United States with his mother and siblings in 1903 and the family were all living in Detroit at the time of the 1910 US census. Casimer was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery (Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery) in Detroit.


Emmet Thomas Conroy signatureOn this day in 1918 Emmet Thomas Conroy died of pneumonia caused by Spanish Flu at Camp Mohawk. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps on October 2nd, 1917 as a ‘rigger’: a specialist carpenter responsible for maintaining the structure of the aircraft. Emmet’s elder brother, Paul Servillian Conroy had also joined the Royal Air Force. He was in training as a pilot cadet at the Long Branch camp (near Toronto). Paul also died of Spanish Flu, at the Toronto base hospital, on the day before Emmet. The Montreal Gazette reported on the brothers’ deaths on October 14th:

Conroy brothers' deaths reported in Montreal Gazette, 14 Oct 1918

Montreal Gazette report on Conroy brothers, October 14th, 1918


Paul and Thomas Conroy Were Training at Aviation Camp

The bodies of two brothers, Paul S. Conroy and Thomas Emmet Conroy, both victimes of the influenza scourge, lie in the one mortuary chamber at their parents’ residence, 48 St. Louis square. Both were attacked with the disease while in training in Ontario aviation camps. Much sympathy was expressed on all sides yesterday for the bereaved family. A double funeral will take place this morning to St. Patrick’s Church and thence to the Cote des Neiges Cemetery for interment.

Thomas Emmet Conroy, aged 22 years, and youngest son of Mr Thomas Conroy, died at Mohawk Camp, Deseronto, on Saturday afternoon. His brother, Paul S. Conroy, notary public aged 28 years, died at the base hospital at Toronto on Friday morning. Both brothers succumbed to an attack of influenza, which developed into pneumonia. The body of Paul arrived in Montreal from Toronto on Saturday night, and the remains of his brother Thomas Emmet, reached here on Sunday morning.

Paul was born on December 24th, 1890. He had originally been drafted on July 22nd, 1918 with the regimental number 3089636 but transferred to the RAF on August 3rd. Emmet was born on October 27th, 1895. Their parents were Thomas Conroy and Mary Ann (née Smith). The men were buried in the same grave in the Cotes des Neiges Cemetery in Montreal.

Photograph of the Conroys' grave, courtesy of Graceti at

Photograph of the Conroys’ grave, courtesy of Graceti at

Percy Joseph Barnett signatureOn this day in 1918 Percy Joseph Barnett died of pneumonia (brought on by Spanish Flu) at the Ongwanada Military Hospital in Kingston. He was an Air Mechanic stationed at the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing in Deseronto. The date of death on the death registration is given as October 11th, but other records have October 12th.

Percy had been in hospital in Kingston before: on November 12th, 1917 he was involved at Camp Mohawk in a flying accident with 2nd Lieutenant Harold Robertson Carson as the result of engine failure. Barnett broke his arm, according to the RAF’s casualty card, and Carson was also injured, suffering minor cuts and bruises.

Barnett had been working as a motor truck foreman in Brooklyn, New York and on June 5th he had completed a US Draft Registration card which recorded that he had brown eyes, black hair and was of medium height and build. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in New York on July 5th, 1917 and was appointed to the Corps in Toronto on July 7th, with the regimental number 72910. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Sarah Barnett, of 665 Seven Sisters Road, London, England. On October 1st, 1917 he was promoted to 2nd Air Mechanic.

Percy was born in London, England on November 7th, 1888, the son of Henry Barnett and Sarah (née Fernandez). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note that he was married to a woman called Amelia. He was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston.

Rupert Cyril Spencer signature
Rupert Cyril Spencer died of influenza and pneumonia at the Camp Rathbun hospital in Deseronto on this day in 1918. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps in New York on July 2nd, 1917 and was appointed in Toronto two days later with the regimental number 72816. He was a draughtsman by profession and he joined the Corps with the rank of 1st Air Mechanic. Spencer gave his next of kin as his wife, Martha Lenore Spencer, of 1100 Market Street, Berwick, Pennsylvania.

He completed a US draft registration card on June 5th, 1917 on which he was described as tall and slender, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. On his RFC attestation his height was recorded as five feet nine and a half inches. Spencer was born in Oldbury, Worcestershire, England on February 15th, 1890, the son of James Harry Spencer and Alice Jane (née Goring). In 1912 he left England for North America, arriving in New York on October 28th. He married Martha Lenore Bates in Berwick, Pennsylvania on June 14th, 1916. The couple had a daughter in January 1918.

Rupert was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Berwick.

Thomas Wilfrid Duncan signature

Thomas Wilfrid Duncan died on this day in 1918 from injuries received in a flying accident in Deseronto. The Royal Air Force casualty card for the incident noted the following facts:

Date of Casualty: 25.9.18
Where occurred: Deseronto, Ontario
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4 C-1318
Nature and Cause of Accident:
Result of Accident: Acci: Killed
Name of other occupant of machine One other name not given slgt injured

The death registration notes that Duncan survived for 28½ hours after the crash, but died of his brain injuries.

Thomas Wilfrid Duncan photo in The Varsity magazine, Toronto

Photograph of Duncan in The Varsity, 1918 war supplement

Thomas was born in Moore township, Lambton County, Ontario on August 20th, 1896, the son of Thomas Reid Duncan and Isabella (née McDonald). He was a student of Applied Sciences at the University of Toronto when he joined the Royal Flying Corps on October 29th, 1917. He was officially appointed to the Corps on December 5th, with a regimental number of 153319. He was five feet nine and a half inches tall. After his initial training, Duncan was granted a commission in the Royal Air Force on August 15th, 1918 and was working as a flying instructor with 81 Canadian Training Squadron in Deseronto at the time of his death.

Duncan was buried in Bear Creek Cemetery, Brigden, Ontario.

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.

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


Next Page »