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Almost 100 years later, Gettysburg to honor last battlefield deaths

George Hamilton Gettysburg.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)

It has been a long time coming.

Gettysburg will honor the last line-of-duty deaths on the historic battlefield in a dedication ceremony 11 a.m. June 26, according to a news release.

But the two men being honored did not fight in the 1863 battle.

Marine aviators Capt. George Hamilton and Gunnery Sgt. George Martin crashed on the battlefield while piloting a dive bomber in June 1922, almost 60 years after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Gettysburg-area residents and Marines partnered to create a wayside memorial in honor of the two men, the only Marines to perish at the historic site.

The ceremony, to be held exactly 96 years after the fatal crash, will take place near the 1922 crash site at Culp Street and Johns Avenue behind the Gettysburg Heritage Center.

Gov. Tom Wolf issued a proclamation declaring June 26, 2018, as Remembrance Day for Hamilton and Martin “in grateful recognition of their military service,” according to the news release.

Hamilton, a survivor of the Battle of Belleau 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 the news release. Their plane attempted to land on the Culp Farm and crashed, killing both aviators.

The dedication service will feature short presentations from authors Mark Mortensen and Richard D. L. Fulton as well as Ronald Frenette, the project manager of the memorial efforts, according to the news release.

In addition, Marine Appreciation Day will take place on June 30 at the Gettysburg Heritage Center. The events will feature Marine displays, presentations by authors and historians, book signings and other activities.

For a schedule of events, visit

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The Hanover Evening Sun

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