Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ William John Blades, WWI Veteran

This tombstone was photographed at the Central Cemetery in Beverly, Massachusetts

699 CO WWI

I knew that my great uncle, William John Blades, was a World War I veteran.  He was a chauffeur during the war, part of the 699th Motor Transportation Company of the US. Army.  There were some rumors that he had driven General Pershing, but there is no way to prove this story!  When I saw that his headstone was government issued, I went over to Ancestry.com to see if I could find the application for ordering his bronze marker.  I found it at the collection labeled "US Headstone Applications for Military Veterans 1925 - 1963".  He died in December of 1962, so that was a close call!

Ancestry.com also has a collection of World War I draft registration cards, too.  That is where I found the card you see below.  It is interesting to me because it states that Uncle Bill was also in the British military (Home Guards) for 5 years before coming to America from Northern Ireland.   Uncle Bill was born in Belfast, and the Ulster Home Guard was a group that preceded the Ulster Defence Volunteers just before World War II. 

Form 1 60980                      Registration Card                           No. 55
1.  Name in full:  William John Bales Blades                     age in yrs:   23
2.  Home Address:  10 Cornwall St. Jamaica Plain Mass.
3.  Date of birth:  June 14, 1894
4.  Are you (1) a natural born citizen, (2) a naturalized citizen, (3) an alien, (4) or have you declared your intention (specify which)?       alien
5.  Where were you born?    Belfast, Ireland
6.  If not a citizen, of what country are you a citizen or subject?  Great Britain
7.  What is your present trade, occupation or office?         Assistant Superintendent
8. By whom employed?   Bailey Meter Co
    Where employed?  54 Pearl st. Boston Mass
9.  Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12, or a sister or brother under 12, solely dependent on you for support (specify which)?    none
10. Married or single (which)?    single     Race (specify which) Caucasian
11. What military service have you had?  Rank:  Corporal    branch:  Home Guards
     Years:   5              Nation or State         England
12  Do you claim exemption from draft (specify grounds)?     no
I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.
                         [signed ]    William John Blades
[on the reverse]
1.  Tall, medium or short (specify which)?   medium      Slender, medium or stout (which)?  medium
2.  Color of eyes?     blue            Color of hair?  brown             Bald?   No
3.  Has person lost arm, leg, hand, foot, or both eyes, or is he otherwise disabled (specify)?   No

Ward 22
Precinct 2
Mass                       June 5, 1917   [The US entered WWI on 6 April 1917]


This is the only photograph I have of Uncle Bill Blades

William John Blades, son of John F. and Mary Blades, was born 14 June 1894 in Belfast Northern Ireland, and died on 28 December 1962 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  He married Janet Wilkinson, daughter of Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill, in 1927.  She was born on 14 June 1898 (they shared a birthday) in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 6 October 1981 in Beverly, Massachusetts.   Janet was my grandfather's sister (Donald Munroe Wilkinson (1895 - 1977)).  They lived for almost 50 years at 111 Essex Street in Beverly.   According to the cemetery records, Auntie Janet was buried next to Uncle Bill, but the headstone appeared to be missing or sunken.

Yes, my aunt Janet was known as Janet Wilkinson Blades!  Funny?


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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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