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British WWI veteran recognized in Shrewsbury

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Saluting as “The Last Post” is played are (l to r) Commander Fred Russell of the Victor Quaranta American Legion Post 397, President Richard Schofield of the British Officers Club of New England, and member Thomas Vantre.

Saluting as “The Last Post” is played are (l to r) Commander Fred Russell of the Victor Quaranta American Legion Post 397, President Richard Schofield of the British Officers Club of New England, and member Thomas Vantre.

Shrewsbury – During Memorial Day weekend, a British veteran buried in the World War I lot of Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury was recognized May 29 with his country’s flag placed at his grave. Sgt. Alexander J. MacIsaac served in the 1st West Lancashire Regiment, Royal Field Artillery.

A ceremony was organized by Commander Fred Russell of the Victor Quaranta American Legion Post 397. He discovered the grave by chance last fall and its inscription caught his attention.

“It was covered with leaves and the one word that stuck out was ‘Lancashire’ because that’s where my great-great-grandfather was born in England,” he relayed. “I felt that he should have the flag he fought under fly over his grave as we have the United States flag for our veterans.”

Not much is known at this point about MacIsaac, who passed away in 1933. Russell found MacIssac listed in the 1930s census as living in Shrewsbury with parents born in England.

“He’s buried with the WWI soldiers from the United States,” Russell noted. “There’s even an American Legion flag holder on his grave, so I think they might have bent the rules a little back in the old days.”

Russell contacted the Royal British Legion, based outside of San Francisco. He secured a British flag and holder for MacIsaac’s grave. Next, he called the British Officers Club of New England, based in Boston. Attending the gravesite ceremony were its President Richard Schofield and member Thomas Vantre.

Schofield recited the poem “Flanders Field” and explained that the United Kingdom observes Remembrance Day.

“We stop and we remember why they died,” he said. “We will never forget their sacrifice.”

For the first time, a British flag was placed on the grave of Sgt. MacIsaac. He received a final salute from fellow veterans as the military ceremonial song “The Last Post” was played.

Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.

Richard Schofield is introduced by Fred Russell.

Richard Schofield is introduced by Fred Russell.

The grave of Sgt. Alexander J. MacIsaac is in the World War I lot of Mountain View Cemetery.

The grave of Sgt. Alexander J. MacIsaac is in the World War I lot of Mountain View Cemetery.

Richard Schofield places a British flag on the grave of Sgt. Alexander J. MacIsaac.

Richard Schofield places a British flag on the grave of Sgt. Alexander J. MacIsaac.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=75185

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under Byline Stories, Photo Galleries, Shrewsbury. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “British WWI veteran recognized in Shrewsbury”

  1. Very nice gesture since Sgt. MacIsaac is said to have fought in the 1st W. Lancs RFA. There is conflicting data here, though because he was an American citizen, born in Boston on 21 January 1886 to parents Angus Mac Isaac and Elizabeth Campbell [Mass. Births, Boston, vol. 18, p. 152, amended]. His parents were both born in Canada, and they married in Cap Breton in 1876. A closer reading of the 1930 census will show you the birth places of Alexander and his parents. I did not find any record of his service with the British when searching in FindMyPast.com but that doesn’t mean he didn’t serve. From what they report in the census they were married about 1915, probably in England as Mary didn’t immigrate until 1919, and I do not find their marriage in the Mass. records. He must have been allowed to join a British unit because of his marriage to Mary. I am sure he would be pleased with the flag in any case, and we are all grateful for his service.

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