A Martyr to Duty

A Martyr to Duty

Listed among the casualties of the explosion and fire at the Federal government’s arsenal at Dover, N. J. a month ago was the name of Private first class, Ralph B. Graham. As names go in casualties, this didn’t mean so much, but behind his death is this interesting background.

Last Spring, Uncle Sam decided that the fire protection of the Brooklyn Navy Yard would have to be taken in charge by the U. S. Marine Corps. Accordingly, the Commandant of the Navy Yard sent to Chief Kenlon for instruction in fire fighting, a few of the Marines, among whom was Graham.

Graham was assigned to Engine Co. 14 on East 18th street. Each evening upon returning to those quarters from the Drill School and the Fire College, he would mess with the firemen in quarters and pay his prorated share of the expenses. Graham, after a while, asked his superior officer at the Navy Yard for rations or maintenance, which would relieve him from paying for his meals from his own pocket.

This suggestion of his was frowned on and he was told toreturn to the Navy Yard, morning and night, for his meals. Graham complained that the journey to and from the Navy Yard, in New York’s already overcrowded subway, was tiresome and annoying and he protested to such an extent, that his assignment to the N. Y. F. D. College and Drill School was revoked for “lack of maintenance funds.” He was thereupon shifted from: the Navy Yard to the Arsenal at Dover, N. J. The next heard from him, was his obituary. Good soldier that he was, he died in the line of duty, a victim of fire and explosion.

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