MANCHESTER – Fifty-four men from Manchester Township served their country during World War I. Though two returned wounded, the township didn’t lose any soldiers during The Great War.
To commemorate those who served, Freeholder Virginia Haines, on behalf of Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr., presented the Manchester Township Council with a service flag for the war’s centennial. Haines was joined by County Parks Superintendent of Recreation Mary J. Bavais, the Township Council, Mayor Kenneth Palmer and members of the township’s Veterans Advisory Committee.
World War I erupted in Europe in 1914. The United States, with then President Woodrow Wilson, adopted a stance of neutrality. However, on April 6, 1917, the U.S. officially joined its allies in the fight. More than 2 million Americans fought in Europe until the Armistice of Compiègne was signed Nov. 11, 1918, ending the war.
“When you go through these names, I can tell you I went to high school with a lot of those with the same last name,” Palmer, who graduated from Manchester Township High School in 1990, said. “All of those folks are obviously still a big part of this town.”
The service flag has a 101-year history, being first patented in 1917 and copied by groups around the nation. Flags were created every few months to add to their numbers those serving.
According to a survey of the sources from just after the war, 2,433 service members – 10.5 percent of Ocean County’s population back then – were listed.
There were 28 municipalities in Ocean County at the time of the Great War. The Board of Chosen Freeholders tasked The Seaport Stitchers Quilt Guild of Tuckerton with creating commemorative service flags for each municipality.
Though this list isn’t considered comprehensive, this is who served from Manchester in World War I according to records: Harry Edward Anderson, Walter Applegate, Earl E. Beers, Theodoriss L. Bell, Alonzo Army Brown, Wilfred A. Burch, Albert Benj Carr, Thomas Clifford, Benjamin H. Corliss, William Crumul, Michael Cusick Jr., Carlton Earley, John Leroy Earley, Clarence B. Gautier, Robert B. Giberson, William Glover, Lloyd Grant, Frank Harbridge, Harry Harker, Charles Higgins, Claude U. Higgins, David S. Hilliard, Israel Horner, Russell L. Keisling, William F. Lederer (wounded), James R. Lewis, Paul E. Matsat, William H. McCallion, Joseph McGoldrick, Clarence P. Morris, Edward Neale, Fred Neale, Wifold Pawlowsky, Clifford B. Payne, Harrison Reed, William Reed, John C. Ridgway, Daniel J. Ryan, John E. Ryan, Joseph Ryan, Joseph Sexton, Bud Shinn, W. Budd Shin, Clinton F. Simpson, George W. Sloan, Irving Sloan, George A. Tice (wounded), Anthony Virgo, Angelo Vitolone, Lee T. Whalen, Raymond M. Whalen, and Vincent Widleki.
The county will have an Armistice Day remembrance on the front of the Ocean County Courthouse 11 a.m. Nov. 11. The celebration will include bagpipers, a bell tolling and monument dedication.