Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Grave in a Far Off Land

In a previous post, I talked about my Great Uncle, Pvt. George H. Britton who was killed in France three weeks before the Armistice in 1918.

There is a memorial marker for George Britton in the Leonardson Cemetery, Jefferson Twp., Hillsdale Co., Michigan, but Uncle George Britton's buriel was actually in France. Until very recently I did not know where in France he was buried.

A year or so ago I sent off to the National Archives for a copy of his military records. I was disappointed to find out that a great number of WW I military records had been destroyed in a fire, so there was no record of Uncle George.

Late last Saturday night I found out Ancestry.Com had a special going where the public at large could do searches on military records in the Ancestry.Com databases. It was a limited time offer set to expire on Sunday, Nov.14. That left me little time, so I dove in and did a search on Uncle George Britton.


I found a listing of where he was buried in France:

George H. Britton
Private, U.S. Army
38th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division
Entered the Service from: Michigan
Died: October 21, 1918
Buried at: Plot G Row 35 Grave 22
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
Romagne, France

I also found a listing for Uncle George from the Soldiers of the Great War Volume 2 "Soldiers of the Great War Michigan" (WW I Casualty Listings), as well as a copy of the draft registration for George's brother, Cleo Elihue Britton.

That was pretty neat, but it is not the end of the story.

Last night I did a Goggle search on "American Military Cemeteries in France", and came across the The American Battle Monuments Commission. I did a search on their World War I database and found the listing for Pvt. George H. Britton. I realized it was this database from which the Ancestry.Com search had pulled from.

But there was more.

I checked out the "Services Available" at the ABMC page, and found out it is possible to get photographs of Uncle George's headstone in France. I sent off an e-mail to them, and today received a reply. In about 6 weeks, I should be getting those photos.

But there is one more thing before I close.

I went to Goggle Map and zeroed in on Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France. I then turned on the satellite view and found the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery

Honestly, I was in tears thinking about it. Grandma's little brother will not be forgotten.

Someday I want to go to France, and go to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. I want to go to Uncle George's grave, put flowers on it, and let the world know he is not forgotten.


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