By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
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.