World War I

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.

Charles Edward Miller signature

Charles Edward Miller, a riveter, signed up in Vancouver on this day in 1918. He was born in Deseronto on June 27th, 1890, the son of Henry Allen Miller and Electa Maria (née Lighthall). He married Clara Lee in Ernestown on November 13th, 1909 and in 1911 the couple were living in Wiarton, Ontario with their two children. When he enlisted, they were living at 122 Stevens Street, Kingston. Miller joined the army with the regimental number 2771378.

His service record shows that Miller left Canada for Siberia with the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force on the SS Empress of Japan on October 11th, 1918. He was diagnosed with influenza eight days after he enlisted, and was in hospital until November 19th. He returned to Canada in April 1919 on the SS Monteagle. He spent time in Barriefield Field Hospital being treated for syphilis and gonorrhea from May 11th until June 26th and was demobilized in Kingston on June 30th, 1919.

Miller died on March 18th, 1948.

James Freeman signature

James Freeman enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on this day in 1918. He was born in Deseronto on December 26th, 1891, the son of John Freeman and Julia (née Meagher). He was working as a bookkeeper when he married Catherine Carr in Oshawa on October 4th, 1913. She died on February 9th, 1917 of heart failure after an operation.

When he joined the Royal Flying Corps Freeman gave his address as 707 Bathurst Street, Toronto. His regimental number was 152345 and he was described as being five feet eight inches tall. His papers at the UK National Archives (AIR 79/1372) note that he was granted a temporary commission in the Royal Air Force on May 15th, 1918. Twelve days later, Freeman married Marjorie Baker in Toronto.

In 1921 James and Marjorie were living at 207 Melita Avenue, Toronto, with their one-year-old son. James died in Windsor in 1965.

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.

Arthur Richardson signature
Arthur Richardson died at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto on this day in 1918. There are conflicting accounts of his death: the registration of his death in the records held by the Archives of Ontario states that he died of a fractured skull after a fall with an aeroplane:Arthur Richardson's death registrationHowever, other records give drowning as the cause of death and there is a file at the Archives of Ontario in the Attorney General’s series with the title “Report re death of Cadet A. Richardson who fell down hole at Camp Mohawk. And as to instituting proceedings for criminal negligence against Works foreman who failed to guard the hole.”The Royal Air Force casualty card for Richardson also notes that he “Drowned at Deseronto, Canada (result of falling into pit)”. This record has the date of the accident as October 4th.The Attorney General’s file at the Archives of Ontario holds details of the inquiry into the accident. It was decided that a criminal prosecution should be pursued against the foreman of the team who dug the hole, George Vanderwater:

Detail of Attorney General's 1918 file RG 4-32/2186 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail of Attorney General’s 1918 file RG 4-32/2186 at the Archives of Ontario

Re Cadet Arthur Richardson
Onn the 3rd inst. Arthur Richardson a Cadet at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto fell down a hole or pit about 16 feet deep and was illed. This pit which was constructed for drainage purposes was unguarded and unlighted, owing, in my opinion, to the negligence of George Vandewater the Foreman – Imperial Munitions Board at Camp Mohawk.
The pit lay close to the Cadet Barracks and adjacent to a walk over which 35 men were accustomed to go, 10 to 15 deep and about 10 by 5 feet wide at the top, being narrower at the bottom and containing some water.

Richardson was born in Gateshead, England in 1890, the son of William Summerbell Richardson and Dorothy (née Burn). He attended the Royal Grammar School at Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1902. He moved to New York in 1913, arriving on the RMS Adriatic on October 3rd, 1913 (five years to the day before he died). He was a chartered accountant by profession.

Arthur joined the Royal Flying Corps on April 11th, 1918 in Winnipeg (technically by then it was the Royal Air Force) and was officially appointed to the Corps on April 15th in Toronto with the regimental number 171458. He was five feet ten and three quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes.

He was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. A blog post on the Sacrifice site explains why.

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