In the Great Hall, Grace Church Parishioners who served their country during World War I and World War II are recognized on separate Rolls of Honor. As we approach the 100th anniversary
of WWI, we remember two who are listed on the WWI Roll of Honor that made the ultimate sacrifice. They are identified by a star next to their name; Howard Burdette Gray and Willard Griswold Barnum.
Howard Burdette Gray was born December 10, 1897. His parents were Charles A. Gray and Emily J. (Williams) Gray and they lived at 46 Capen Street in Windsor. Howard was a Clerk with
the General Electric Co. Howard’s brother, Robert, joined Company K, 1st Infantry Regiment, Connecticut National Guard (CNG) and served on the Mexican Border Campaign in 1916. When the unit returned from the Mexican border, Howard joined his brother also enlisting in Company K, 1st Infantry Regiment (CNG) on November 20, 1916.
With the outbreak of WWI, the 1st Infantry Regiment (CNG) was called into United States service on March 26, 1917. As the Army mobilized the 1st Infantry Regiment (CNG) was combined with the 2nd Infantry Regiment (CNG) and reconstituted as the 102nd Infantry Regiment and assigned to the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division August 24, 1917. Robert was assigned to Headquarters Company, 102nd Infantry while Howard remained with Company K, 102nd Infantry. The unit trained at Yale from August to September 15, 1917 when it then departed for Southampton, England
The Regiment first went into action in February 1918 at Chemin Des Dames. Howard was gassed at some point but returned to duty and fought in the offensive at Chateau Thierry where he was wounded. He died of his wound in the 103rd Field Hospital, 26th Infantry Division on July 21, 1918. Robert Gray was also wounded but recovered and was discharged from the Army April 29, 1919. Howard B. Gray is buried in Windsor along with his mother and father. His name appears on the WWI Memorial on the Town Green. The Gray-Dickinson American Legion Post # 59 in Windsor is named in his honor.
Willard Griswold Barnum was born August 12, 1895 in La Canada, Los Angeles, California. His father was Cortez Delisle Barnum and his mother was Alice W. Dillings. Willard’s sister was Mabel R. Barnum. She was born in Connecticut in January 1890 living in Windsor, Connecticut with her parents and her two brothers, Willard G. and Starr Hewitt Barnum. Willard’s mother died in Hartford, CT in 1905. Genealogy research has Mabel living in Windsor up to 1910 and may have married here. It’s not clear when Willard moved with his father back to California. The family apparently did move between California and Connecticut at least twice.
When Willard was drafted he was employed by the Ventura Refining Company in Ventura, CA. Willard was a 23-year-old private in Company “F”, 210th Engineer Regiment, US Army, at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia when he died of pneumonia October 18, 1918. This was during the height of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and often those whose death was listed as pneumonia had actually contracted influenza. He was buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Georgia the same day as his death.
Grace Church remembers her young men who went to fight the “War to End All Wars”.