….and in the setting of the sun we will remember them….
I’m saddened that I know so little about this particular veteran’s story. I can fill in a few details but really the obituary tells more of the story than I know.
I have done more extensive research into my maternal grandmother thus I know a few details of her brother’s life. The following is an excerpt from her story that was published in Pioneer Women of Saskatchewan.
There is very little known of May Honey’s upbringing in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England other than her birth date of May 24, 1883. She had a younger brother Fred and a brother David who was mentally handicapped. Her brother Fred left for Canada at the age of eleven; one speculates that it was to find a better life. We do know that she followed him out to Canada, apparently arriving at her destination before Fred. Our first written Canadian record places May Honey in Moose Jaw, NWT in 1904. Her eldest children do recall that she came over as a Salvation Army Lass. The Salvation Army assisted those living in poorhouses to immigrate to “better” conditions. May was employed as domestic help at the Hayes farm just outside of Moose Jaw. As far as her children remember Fred departed shortly after arriving and ended up in the United States. I have no details about why or how or where but he resurfaced in Canada for a visit in 1922 when their mother, Martha Ashton, and handicapped brother, David, arrived in Canada. Fred came up from El Paso, Texas so obviously he and May kept in touch with letters. This would be the only reunion of the family that split up over 30 years prior.
Several decades later May and Bowyer took the second holiday of their lifetime in the winter of 1952 when they journeyed via train to El Paso Texas to spend a few weeks with May’s brother Fred and his wife. It had been over 25 years since the siblings last saw each other and this would be their final reunion.
So we know that at some point Fred moved to the USA, he fought with them when they came in late to the First World War.
Wikipedia fills in the blanks about what the 7th Cavalry did and didn’t do there.
In December 1917, 7th Cavalry was assigned to the 15th Cavalry Division, an on-paper organization designed for service in France during World War I that was never more than a simple headquarters. This was because no significant role emerged for mounted troops on the Western Front during the 19 months between the entry of the United States into the war and the Armistice of 11 November 1918. The 7th Cavalry was released from this assignment in May 1918.
He stayed on with the Calvary; that much my mom remembered and the obituary collaborates. He then served with them during the Second World War. There were no Calvary units in that war as the troops moved via tanks, jeeps and planes so once again I turned to Wikipedia to find out base info.
The 7th Cavalry Regiment was dismounted on 28 February 1943, and started packing up for deployment to the Pacific Theater, still part of 1st Cavalry Division. The 7th Cavalry staged at Camp Stoneman, California on 18 June 1943, and departed the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on 26 June 1943. It arrived in Australia on 11 July 1943, where it trained for combat, and then participated in the New Guinea campaign, which began on 24 January 1943, and did not end until 31 December 1944.
The regiment was relieved from duty in this campaign, and moved on to be reorganized under special cavalry and infantry tables of organization & equipment on 4 December 1943, and then trained for combat and participated in the Bismarck Archipelago campaign, which started on 15 December 1943, and did not end until 27 November 1944.
They moved on to Hauwei Island, which it secured in March 1944. The regiment continued on, and arrived at Lugos Mission on Manus Island in late March 1944.
In October 1944, and 7th Cavalry moved on towards the Philippines, and assaulted Leyte in October 1944. Leyte did not end until 1 July 1945, but 7th Cavalry was needed for the Luzon campaign, which started on 15 December 1944.
Deploying again by landing craft, 7th Cavalry landed at Luzon on 27 January 1945, where the regiment engaged until the end of the Luzon campaign on 4 July 1945. 7th Cavalry again reorganized and then headed to Lucena, Batangas in the Philippines until September 1945, when it was moved to Japan to start occupation duty.
What he did as a staff serjeant I do not know. The newspaper clipping says he was buried with full military honours at the Fort Bliss Military Cemetery. That is in El Paso.
We do know he was married twice and had no children. My mother remembers that he loved dogs and always had one. This must have been noted in letters and perhaps photos as she never actually met him. My mother received the newspaper clipping from his wife with the obituary.
Three siblings, Fred, May and David split up by economic circumstances. Both Fred and David died childless so it is up to May’s descendants to honour these men by sharing what we know, although really it seems like so little.
11 Stories — 11 Days
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Acts of Remembrance
EDITOR’S NOTE: When Gramma Ashton died May, Bowyer & family were unable to care for David. He was deported back to Liverpool but that is all I know. It’s a retirement project to fill in those blanks as well.