Newmarket, NH  25 May 1917

Privates Joseph A. Smith (age 23 of Boston) and Edward O.Watson (age 20 of Everett, Mass.) both of Company L, 6th Massachusetts Infantry were struck and killed by a Boston and Maine  Express Train while on Duty in Newmarket, N.H. on May 25th 1917.   The  two members of the Massachusetts National Guard were assigned to perform protective work on the Boston and Maine railroad at Newmarket, N.H..  They  were killed on Friday morning, shortly before 9 a.m..

They were engaged in guard duty on bridge No.03 between Newmarket and Durham and stepped off the east bound track on to the west bound track to get out of the way of an approaching extra freight train.  The noise of the freight train prevented their hearing the approach of an express train that was upon them before they had chance to escape.

News of the accident was sent to Newmarket’s Dr. John D. Butler who responded, but on his arrival it was found that both men were beyond medical aid.  The bodies were removed to C. E Tasker’s undertaking rooms to await the disposition of relatives.  Pvt Smith, leaves a wife, having only recently been married.   (Portsmouth Herald, May 25th edition, 1917)


Last Friday morning at about 9 o’clock two members of Co. L, 6th Massachusetts regiment, a detail of which company have been doing guard duty on the railroad here for several weeks, were instantly killed by an express just beyond the Pond. “They stepped directly in front of the express in an effort to avoid a freight train approaching from the opposite direction.  The men were Joseph Smith of Boston and Edward Watson of Everett, Mass..  Smith was married only two weeks before he met his death, and Watson was to have been married in few days. The bodies were taken to C. E. Tasker’s undertaking rooms and prepared for burial.  Both men were colored.

At the close of the morning service in the Federated church last Sunday, where some of the guards have attended, Rev. William Ramsden held a brief memorial service in honor of the two men ‘who had lost their lives while on duty’.  A squad  of the guards were present in full uniform, occupying front seats, and the local troop of Boy Scouts occupied seats across the aisle.  Nearly 200 people were present.  

At 8 o’clock Monday morning,  14 of the guards and the Boy Scouts, with citizens, gathered at the undertaking rooms of C. E. Tasker, where were the bodies, draped with the American flag.  A wreath of magnolia leaves and flowers for each was provided by the Boy Scouts.  Rev. William Ramsden read the burial service.  The bodies were escorted by the soldiers and scouts to the railroad station and forwarded to Boston on the 9.06 train in the of a delegation of Co. L. 

(The Newmarket Advertiser, Jun 6th, 1917)


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