Naval Cemetery Records Donated

14 Aug 2014 6:19 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

From 1987 MOCA archives we find this description of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Cemetery.  Although the name seems to imply that it is located in Portsmouth, NH, the cemetery actually lies on Jamaica Island at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, which is located in Kittery, ME.

Thomas M. Doyle, Administrative Office in the Public Works Department, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, has given MOCA a copy of the first draft of his meticulously researched records of burials at the U.S. Naval Cemetery located at the Shipyard. One of only two such cemeteries in the continental U.S., it was originally designed for 140 burial sites but an 1826 survey revealed 56 to be unusable because of underlying ledge. Redesign and expansion in 1901 provided an additional 200 sites. It was entered into the Department of the Interior's Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Only 149 of the 214 grave sites currently in use have known occupants. Included are Navy and Marine service men and women, dependents of active military personnel and British and Danish seamen and fliers who lost their lives on these shores during WWII.

The first recorded burial was that of a civilian living on the island in 1820, the most recent a retired Navy Chief, buried in 1972 beside his parents.

Doyle is still striving to document the remaining 65 burials. His current alphabetized list includes the name, date of death, age when known, and burial location of each person, plus available personal data such as birth date and place, military affiliation, and cause of death.

VOL XIX No 4 Fall 1987

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Cemetery

Find a Grave - Portsmouth Naval Cemetery

Dedicated to the Preservation of Maine's Neglected Cemeteries since 1968.
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