Saturday, September 21, 2013

34254. William Daly

Having finished reading the Hull Village Cemetery, I moved onto New Jersey. You know, like you do.

I was working on a book project, called to the Navesink area, and awoke early one morning to spend a little time (notice I didn't say "kill some time") at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. There, I ran into my second balloonist of the year.

William Daly, with the 13th Balloon Company, was on his way to the front in France in November 1918 (if he was still with his unit at the time) when a surprising thing happened: peace broke out. A total of six American balloon companies were on their way there when, suddenly, their services were no longer needed.

It was a good thing, too. Of the 1,642 ascensions made by American balloon troops in World War I, only 1,594 balloon crews came back down of their own volition. Three percent of the ascensions ended in combat losses.

I'm sure Mr. Daly made a success of life after the military, but what an odd trade to bring back home.

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