Tribute to the Americans


The three American military cemeteries in Belgium hold 14,000 American burials. Since 2004 the AOMDA has paid tribute to the eight isolated graves: three from WO1 and five from WW2. The WO1 burials are situated at Lijssenthoek: Sergeant David Stanley Beattie, Private First Class Harry Arthur King and 1st Lieutenant James Aaron Pigue. As for Beattie and Pigue it was the explicit wishes of the families that the bodies of their beloved ones were not removed.  Harry King was initiatlly buried at the Argonne American cemetery. When Mrs. King learned that Lijssenthoek was to be her son Reggie's final resting place, she  requested that Harry be buried near his brother Reggie at Lijssenthoek. His remains were moved to Lijssenthoek in October of 1921.  You can read their stories on this page:

Beattie, Pigue and King fought under the American flag. Others joined the Canadian or the British Army. America was neutral in the war until April of 1917.  "In order to maintain the image that America really was neutral, any American who joined a foreign army in that time period automatically lost his US citizenship.  At the time that those men died, they were effectively stateless.  However, in the 1920's, the US Congress adopted a law that retroactively restored their citizenship.  So, we may consider them to be American citizens, despite the fact that they served in Canadian and British armed forces", says Jerome Sheridan from AOMDA. 

As a consequence 41 Americans are buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. Twelve of them fought under the British flag. Most of these men were born English, Irish or Scottish, emigrated to America and returned to their homeland at the outbreak of the war. Americans who enlisted in Canada were either emigrants who resided in Canada or Americans who specifically went to Canada to join the army over there.