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The last military deaths at Gettysburg came in a plane crash

Written by Dustin B. Levy/The Hanover Evening Sun | Apr 25, 2017 6:22 PM
major_george_Hamilton.jpg

Marine Capt. George Hamilton survived a bloody World War I battle win honors, but perished in a plane crash near the Gettysburg battlefield in 1922. (Photo: Submitted, Richard Fulton)

(Gettysburg) -- The last soldiers to perish on the Gettysburg battlefield died almost 60 years after the famed Civil War battle.

Marine aviators Capt. George Hamilton and Gunnery Sgt. George Martin crashed in the line of duty while piloting a dive bomber in June 1922.

Gettysburg-area residents and marines have partnered to honor the fallen soldiers with a memorial.

The Gettysburg Battlefield Detachment of the Marine Corps League set up a GoFundMe to raise $7,500 for the memorial, aiming for a dedication in June. The page raised more than $2,500 as of Monday.

"As the 95th Anniversary of their crash approaches, there is still no memorial to mark the death of the only marines on the Gettysburg Battlefield," reads the GoFundMe page. "It is time to correct that."

Learn about a loyal dog named Sallie who accompanied the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry into battle and the mystery of a cannon bearing the name 'Cora.' Dan Rainville, The Evening Sun

 

Hamilton, a survivor of the Battle of Bealleau Wood during World War I, was flying a de Havilland bomber over the Gettysburg battlefield with Martin during Marine Corps re-enactment maneuvers, according to a news release. Their plane went into a tailspin and crashed at the Williams Johns Farm.

"I decided that it was important to bring forth information about these two brave pilots that have been overlooked by history," Ronald Frenette, a Gettysburg resident leading efforts for the memorial, said in the news release. "The best way to do that was to create a memorial."

Hamilton and Martin will be honored with a way-side memorial marker on a brick pavilion at Culp Street and Johns Avenue, according to Richard Fulton, who co-authored "The Last to Fall: 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg" about the events of their deaths.

The Gettysburg Heritage Center on Steinwehr Avenue offered a portion of their land near the crash site for the memorial location, according to the news release.

"We thought it was a great idea to tell a broader story, one that expands beyond the Civil War," Tammy Myers, Heritage Center president, stated in the news release.

To donate

Money raised over the cost of the memorial will be donated to the Marine Corps League of Pennsylvania Foundation.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

 

 

 

Published in Adams County, News

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