Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On 4 February 1919, little more than a month after hostilities in World War I ceased, my great uncle Harry Francis Longmore, son of Cecelia Longmore, while serving in the American Expeditionary Force, United States Army, 348th Infantry Regiment, 87th Division, Company M, contracted a disease (most likely influenza) and died in Bordeaux, being laid to eternal rest in Plot A Row 16 Grave 8 of the Suresnes American Cemetery, in Suresnes, France (although he may have initially been buried in a cemetery in southwestern France). He enlisted for service 28 May 1918 at Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N. J. and served as the company bugler. His unit never saw action, having arrived in France late in the conflict. I am not sure exactly when the family was notified of his passing, but on 17 February 1919 his mother posted a letter that obviously he never read (and its existence may be the result of it being returned by the War Department to Fort Dix on 22 March 1919 and to Trenton on 25 March 1919). Sadly, his elder brother James Brook (after whom apparently my father was initially named), who enlisted 3 September 1918 and served in 10th Battalion, Company 37, 153 Depot Brigade, died of pneumonia at the age of twenty-eight at Fort Dix on 8 October 1918, so Harry's death was a double blow to Cecelia and the whole family. Herewith the unread letter, a missive to her son, hopefully read by a ghost on his way to heaven. [I tried to transcribe it exactly as on the pages.]

My Dear Harry

I hav got the letter of Jan 6 and am looking for a letter again every time I see the Carier I am looking for the letter I mean the Great one - of things that - are wonderfull. Oh Harry I have something to tell you when I see you. Dad was up to the 2nd Pres Church with me Sunday. all the children are well Laura & Joe sends love to you, a great many of the Boys are geting Discharged from Dix & other camps as well Gorge Gildea says he will run all the way home from Camp Dix if they only give him chance and his Discharge Uncle Joe's James gets one to Day so uncle Joe told us yesterday young Joe is in som land near Spane. Harry I do hope you will only keep well and get home soon for we do want to see you so badly Harry send me a postal card picture Just bust so that your Face is large and your Hat of [off] do write to me soon for it is so long since we got a letter from you Dad sends love to you and he as got Ducks & Chickens so you will have a good time when you get Home I send Love to you I do not want a large picture for Maby I would not get it in the mail so Just Postal kind so it will not cost much

I close with love to you

You asked of Jack Flager he is fine look as if he was never sick Mrs Emdy is fine Dad see her evry day or to she is not geting letters eather only 2 from Burnard since he left home 2 months since one from Frank or Conard she is looking for them home Henry Mullan in Brooklyn is like Police so fat and John is fine & in France

The War Department (although it may too have been a private concern), made postcard pictures of each US grave in France and sent it to the family. This may have been a temporary grave in Bourdeaux.

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