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Stories of Flanders Field

This tour visits the graves of six individuals memorialized at the Flanders Field American Cemetery.

The Flanders Field American Cemetery commemorates the accomplishments and sacrifices of those Americans who participated in Ypres-Lys Campaign. The 368 Americans buried in this cemetery are each commemorated with a headstone above their burial. 43 Americans are commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing. This tour visits the memorials of six men who lost their lives in Ypres-Lys Campaign.

Thomas E. Kearney

Thomas E. Kearney

U.S. Signal Corps

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Tennessee

Died:

8/14/1918

Grave Location:

Plot A, Row 1, Grave 6

1st Lt. Thomas Emmett Kearney served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I. He was born on July 1, 1895 in Paducah, Ky., and he had two brothers and two sisters. He excelled in academics and received a college education. After he graduated, he worked for a company in the cotton trade.

Kearney volunteered for service in May 1917, but was rejected from being a pilot on physical grounds. Determined to fly, he went to Canada and joined the Canadian forces. On December 16, 1917 he received his wings. He then traveled back to the United States to join the U.S. Air Service. He was accepted on January 13, 1918. He was then sent to Europe and joined the British 22nd Aero Squadron until August 12, when he was assigned to the 18th Squadron.

On the evening of August 14, Kearney and his observer, Sgt. John Harvey Hammond of the Royal Air Force, were on a bombing raid. Anti-aircraft shells hit the aircraft and it took a vertical dive towards the ground. Both men were killed. Kearney was buried along the road of Estevelles near Meurchin in Pont á Vendin, department Pas-de-Calais, France and reinterred at Flanders Field American Cemetery. Hammond’s remains were never found.

Thomas E. Kearney is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot A, Row 1, Grave 6.

John E. Noonan

John E. Noonan

107th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division

Private, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

New York

Died:

8/13/1918

Grave Location:

Plot B, Row 1, Grave 23

Pvt. John E. Noonan served with 107th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division during World War I. He was born in Kingston, N.Y., the child of Irish immigrants

In June 1918, while the 27th Division was in training, he wrote a letter to his aunt in which he said “I am as safe here as I ever was.” On July 5, 1918, the 27th Division was placed along the Eastern Poperinghe Line, an area southwest of Ypres inside the Dickebush Lake and Scherpenburg sector. Noonan’s unit moved up to the front on August 10. The area suffered heavy shelling in German artillery raids. During one of these raids, on August 13, 1918, Noonan was killed. He was buried at the Abeele Aerodrome Military Cemetery in Belgium, and was reinterred at the Flanders Field American Cemetery after the war.

John E. Noonan is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot B, Row 1, Grave 23.

William C. Barlow

William C. Barlow

105th Engineer Regiment, 30th Division

Private, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Alabama

Died:

8/27/1918

Grave Location:

Plot B, Row 2, Grave 20

Pvt. William Cataloe Barlow served with the 105th Engineer Regiment, 30th Division during World War I. Born on December 27, 1888 in Dixons Beat, Ala., he was one of three children. Even though his family owned a store, Barlow became a farmer with his grandfather. In June 1917 he requested to not be drafted because his parents were dependent on him. This was to no avail. He was drafted on April 25, 1918. He reported for duty in Dothan, Ala., just one month and one day after his marriage to Effie Palmer.

One day after reporting for duty, Barlow was on his way to South Carolina for Boot Camp. He was assigned to Company F of the 105th Engineer Regiment. He arrived in Europe aboard the SS Melita, on May 27, 1918.

Barlow participated in the battles around the village of Voormezele in August 1918. On August 17, an order was issued that concerned the men of the 30th Division. Gas cylinders were to be opened on the night of either August 24th or 25th in the direction of the German trenches. A portion of this area was near the area of the 30th Division. They needed to wait for favorable winds to execute the attack.

On August 28th, the winds were favorable and the cylinders were opened. Three minutes into the attack, the direction of the wind changed. The wind carried the poisonous gas in the reverse direction, towards the British and U.S. troops. The concentration of gas was so high that, despite their gas masks, three men were killed instantly, including Barlow. He died during transportation to an aid station.

William C. Barlow is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot B, Row 2, Grave 20.

Louis J. Herman

Louis J. Herman

108th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

New York

Died:

8/13/1918

Grave Location:

Plot C, Row 2, Grave 11

Pfc. Louis J. Herman served in the 108th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division during World War I. He was born Martinsville, Niagara County, N.Y., on July 9, 1895. He worked at the Wurlitzer Organ and Piano Company in North Tonawanda, N.Y., as a piano regulator. This position was highly specialized, necessitating a gifted ear and near perfect pitch.

Herman was serving with his cousin Capt. Edward Martin Herman in the New York 27th Division. His cousin worked with the U.S. Lighthouse Service as a light keeper at the Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie, Ohio. The cousins were together when Louis was killed by a sniper’s bullet during a gas attack on August 13, 1918.

Edward wrote home to the family to inform them. Because official notification did not arrive until months later, the local paper disputed the fact that Louis had died, asserting that perhaps he was only wounded and missing. In April 1919, Edward planted a walnut tree on the ground of the Marblehead Lighthouse in memory of Louis. The tree still stands there to this day. Edward went on to become the head custodian in charge of the Washington Monument.

Louis J. Herman is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot C, Row 2, Grave 11.

Norman K. Stein

Norman K. Stein

106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

New York

Died:

8/9/1918

Grave Location:

Plot C, Row 4, Grave 20

Pfc. Norman K. Stein served as part of the medical corps attached to the 106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division during World War I. Stein and his best friend Pvt. Russell Swain, both from Brooklyn, N.Y., died when hit by a German shell on August 9, 1918, while stationed near the Eastern Poperinghe Line, an area southwest of Ypres inside the Dickebush Lake and Scherpenburg sector. Stein died just after his 21st birthday.

After his death, Swain’s parents requested that Swain and Stein be buried side by side in the Flanders cemetery. Though Stein’s parents originally requested that their son be returned to the United States, Swain’s parents convinced them that the two should be buried side by side. Stein is one of the few Jewish burials in Flanders Field American Cemetery.

Stein’s headstone includes an epitaph on the back. The epitaph reads: “To eyes of men unwise they seem to die”, a passage from the book of Solomon.

Norman K. Stein is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot C, Row 4, Grave 20.

Leroy A. Doyle

Leroy A. Doyle

106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division

Private, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

New York

Died:

9/2/1918

Memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing

Pvt. Leroy Alonzo Doyle served with the 106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division during World War I. He was born on November 22, 1898 in Cementon, N.Y., to Simon Doyle, a Civil War veteran, and Anna Miller. Doyle was the eleventh child of the family, although only four survived past infancy.

Doyle enlisted in the New York National Guard 10th Infantry Regiment on May 8, 1917. When the 27th Division was established, he was reassigned to the 106th Infantry Regiment and trained with it. The Kemmel Monument—which was constructed by ABMC—is dedicated to the 27th and 30th Divisions, and is located just a few hundred meters from where Doyle was mortally wounded by machine gun fire. At 19 years old, he is among the youngest memorialized at Flanders Field.

Doyle joined the service with his nephew Clarence Gardner, who was raised by Doyle’s parents. The two grew up together, enlisted together, and were even wounded at the same time on September 2, 1918. Doyle was killed in action. It was thought that Gardner was also killed in action because his dog tags were found at the scene. His family received a mistaken letter that he had been killed in action when he was actually being treated in a hospital.

Leroy A. Doyle is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Flanders Field American Cemetery.