Seaford Museum hosts World War I exhibit

By Lynn R. Parks

When the Seaford Museum decided to host a poster exhibit, World War I: Lessons and Legacies, Seaford Historical Society volunteer Jim Bowden got busy, looking for information about Seafords contribution to what was called the war to end all wars.

For help, he turned to Google. And he was able to find a treasure trove of information, most of it in the form of newspaper articles.

The articles are on display in the museum, along with eight posters compiled by the Smithsonian Institution and made available through the Delaware Humanities Forum. The exhibit will remain through Labor Day weekend.

We dont remember World War I much, said historical society president Beverly Hutton. It doesnt seem to have the glamour of the Civil War or the Revolutionary War. Its good to recall what it was about, and the people who fought in it.

World War I started in June 1914 and ended in November 1918. The U.S. entered the conflict in April 1917. In the nearly four and a half years of the war, 10 million military personnel were killed and 23 million wounded. In addition, nearly 8 million civilians lost their lives in the war. The United States mobilized more than 4 million members of the military. Its forces suffered 110,000 deaths, including 45,000 men who died from the flu.

Among Bowdens finds was an article that appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 14, 1918, edition of the Evening Journal (Wilmington), announcing that the previous Tuesday, Seaford had held a big peace celebration, which eclipsed anything of the kind ever held in Sussex County. An estimated 5,000 people took part in the mile-long parade, which was held in celebration of the Nov. 11 signing of an armistice to end the war.

The paradeÉformed in West Seaford and marched down High Street to Market, out Market to Poplar, thence across to Cannon Street, where it turned onto King Street, the unidentified journalist wrote. Leading the way was a truck from the business Greenabaum Bros., bearing a large sign with the word Peace illuminated with electric lights. On top of the truck burned a large campfire.

Two hundred mounted men rode immediately behind the truck, and they presented a fine appearance. Every boy and girl and even men had some kind of an instrument with which to make a noise in celebrating America and her Allies victory.

Two months later, on Jan. 7, 1919, the Every Evening reported that Seaford-area soldiers Everett Willin and Frank Smith, both in a hospital in France recovering from wounds, discovered each other when Willin recognized Smiths voice. Willin was lying on his cot talking to a Red Cross nurse when he heard someone singing, and he told the nurse that the voice sounded familiar, the article said. Willin asked the nurse to direct him to the part of the hospital where the singing was. The nurse granted his request and to his surprise, he found the voice to be that of his chum, Frank Smith.

Perhaps most notable of Bowdens finds was information about Seaford native Lucile Ross Jones, a granddaughter of Gov. William Ross and wife of Stanley Livingston Jones. According to a July 2014 article in The Calgary Journal, Stanley, who was born in Nova Scotia, was a lawyer and a veteran of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) between the British Empire and two Boer nations, South Africa and what was then the Orange Free State. He was also the first resident of Calgary, Canada, to enlist to fight with British forces after Germany invaded Belgium in 1914. He joined the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry after acquiescing to Luciles demand that she be allowed to accompany him and serve as a Red Cross nurse.

Lucile sailed for England and Stanley stayed in Canada, where he underwent training in the Quebec city of LŽvis. He arrived in England six weeks later and in January 1915, was sent to the front lines in Belgium.

In October, Lucile went to Paris to continue training as a nurse. They were able to spend some time together. But Stanley was injured on June 2 during a German bombardment and the next day was taken as a prisoner of war. He died in a German hospital on June 8, 1916, of an internal hemorrhage and severe loss of blood.

Bowden said that Lucile eventually returned to Seaford. She gave speeches, raising money for the war effort, and in 1917 returned to France with her cousin Elizabeth, both of whom worked as nurses. Lucile died in 1955. Both she and Stanley are buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary.

For your information World War I: Lessons and Legacies, will be at the Seaford Museum through Labor Day weekend. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. For details, call 629-9828 or visit the website seafordhistoricalsociety.com.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.