GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2001-08 > 0998851170
Subject: [GM-L] Edward Carter Sortwell b. 1889, Cambridge, MA, d. 1916 WWI
Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 14:39:30 EDT
Note: his photo is at this Univ. Kansas website
EDWARD CARTER SORTWELL
Born March 25, 1889, in Cambridge, Massachusetts' Son of Alvin Foye and
Gertrude W. Sortwell. Educated St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, and
Harvard University, three years, Class of 1911. In business with Ludlow
Manufacturing Associates; three years in India, from 1913. Joined American
Field Service, April 26, 1916; attached Section Eight to September, 1916,
then Section Three in Salonica. Died November 12, 1916, of injuries received
in accident, Salonica, November 11. Buried, Salonica. Body transferred to Mt.
Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
."EVERY person has some trait in his or her character which dominates all
others. With 'Ed,' as one remembers him as a boy, later at college, and
finally in business, the one word 'affectionate' strikes the keynote of his
personality. His happiest moments were spent with his family in the country
and his love of horses and dogs was phenomenal. His next most dominant trait
was generosity. College friends and mess-mates in India have all spoken of
the pleasure he received in giving. The last and possibly the most important
characteristic was courage. As a youngster at St. Paul's School, one can
remember his flying tackle, his willingness to take a chance of a mighty hard
bump in the hope of getting his man. He usually got him."
On the death of his father, a former mayor of Cambridge, he left Harvard
College at the end of his junior year and entered the employ of the Ludlow
Manufacturing Associates. It was in pursuit of this firm's transactions in
jute that he was sent to Calcutta, where he remained for three years. In the
spring of 1916, on his way back, to America, he stopped over in Paris and,
becoming interested in the work which the American Field Service was doing at
the front, enlisted for a term of six months. Section Eight was just leaving
for action, and as one of the original members of the section he served from
May until September, 1916, in Champagne and around Verdun.
Austin Mason, chef of Section Eight, has written of the work of the Section:
"My memory of the fellows is most vivid at the time when we had the hardest
work. This was at Dugny, near Verdun, and our poste de secours was the Fort
de Tavannes. One of the hardest attacks on the Verdun sector was going on at
the time, in June, 1916, and those who were with us came through that time
with great credit. Volunteers were called for every so often for some
particularly dangerous job, and there was never a lack of them. I can
remember Sortwell, with his earnest eager face, volunteering among the first.
He did excellent work while he was with us and all the fellows were very fond
of him, for he enjoyed a good time when he was not on duty and was always
ready to take part in any amusement or party that was planned. It was a great
blow to all of us to have him taken away with two others of the crowd when
the section for Salonica was formed."
Late in September he volunteered for duty with Section Three in the Orient
and was accepted. Barely two weeks after landing in Salonica and while
waiting for the cars to be made ready, he was struck by a heavy motor car
while crossing a dark street, concussion of the brain resulting, and he died
the following night, Sunday, November 12th, 1916. He was buried in the French
Cemetery on the outskirts of Salonica, his coffin covered with a French and
an American flag.
In a letter to Sortwell's mother, A. Piatt Andrew, head of the American Field
Service, wrote: "Your son has left in the memory of all those who were
associated with him a fine record of arduous and in many cases dangerous
work, eagerly and courageously performed; an example of manly endurance in
the performance of duty which will never be forgotten. He never hesitated and
never shirked before a dangerous mission. He is the third of our American
volunteers to give his life in the service of France in her hours of peril,
and with his sacrifice he has added one more link to the bonds of friendship
which have bound our two countries since their earliest days."