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Honoring Service: Fallen Veteran William Key Bond Emerson, WWI

Our reporting on local veterans is a collaboration with RyeVets.org to highlight those from Rye who have served our country across times of war and peace. There are over 2,100 veterans from the City of Rye. Learn more about how you can help research and write biographies of those that have served.

Honoring Service - 06 - 2023 - William Key Bond Emerson
William Key Bond Emerson

William Key Bond Emerson, born on April 9, 1894, in New York City, was the son of W. K. B. and Maria Furman Emerson. He had a younger brother named Rupert. The family resided on Forrest Ave – Milton Point in Rye.

Date of Birth: April 9, 1894
Died On: May 14, 1918
Branch of Service: U.S. Army – 12th Aero Squadron

William attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, and later joined the Class of 1916 at Harvard University. During his time at Harvard, he actively participated in various clubs and sports, including football. He was also a notable member of the 1914 crew championship team.

In July 1915, William interrupted his studies and joined the American Field Service. He became part of the American Ambulance Corps and served in France until November 25, 1915, prior to the United States’ entry into the war. The entire Harvard unit, including William, received recognition from the French for their bravery under fire. After six months of ambulance service, William returned to the United States and resumed his studies at Harvard.

He graduated in June 1916 and continued his pursuit of aeronautical engineering at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In January 1917, William returned to France for the second time and rejoined the Field Service. He was initially attached to Section Thirteen before being transferred to Section Three in the Balkans, serving until September 20, 1917.

In September 1917, William was relieved of duty with the Ambulance Corps and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the artillery under General Pershing.

Later, William enlisted in the American Aviation Service and underwent training as an observer at the French artillery school in Valdahon. He trained with the 15th U.S. Field Artillery and the 228th French Escadrille. More on Emerson.

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