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Newhouse Lays Wreaths at the Suresnes Gravesite of Washington Native Veterans of World War I

November 10, 2018
Press Release

SURESNES, FRANCE—With the world reflecting on the centennial of the Armistice of World War I, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) laid wreaths Saturday at Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside of Paris, France to honor three Washington natives who lost their lives or went missing in “The Great War.”

“Inscribed on the chapel overlooking the Suresnes cemetery are the words, ‘Peaceful is their sleep in glory, and it was a moving experience to recognize the ultimate sacrifice of fellow Americans who never came home,” said Rep. Newhouse. “These young men’s sacrifice is more than most of us can imagine. The ground in which they rest is hallowed, and it was an honor to pay respects on behalf of the people of the Fourth Congressional District.”

Rep. Newhouse laid wreaths at the gravesite of Private Harold H. Anderson of Bellingham and at the Tablets of the Missing in honor of Private Robert W. Ely of Kennewick and John Tomlinson of Toppenish. In addition to laying the wreaths, Rep. Newhouse also participated in a memorial ceremony at Suresnes American Cemetery to honor all Americans who lost their lives in World War I. Rep. Newhouse attended the ceremony with a group of bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Newhouse laid the wreath at the gravesite of Private Harold H. Anderson, who served in the 335 Infantry Regiment, 84th Division of the U.S. Army. A Veteran of World War I and originally from Bellingham, Washington, he passed away on October 10, 1918.  Anderson deployed along with his unit to France in October 1918, moving directly into “behind the lines” training camps to learn modern battlefield tactics from veteran French Soldiers. However, shortly after arrival, his division was designated as a training unit with the mission of training newly arriving American units for forward deployment. Private Anderson died of an unknown disease, most likely influenza or tuberculosis.

Private Roberty W. Ely served in the 125th Field Artillery Regiment, 34th Division of the U.S. Army. He was born June 11, 1891 and was from Kennewick, Washington. He trained at Camp Cody in New Mexico in June of 1918. On September 24, 1918, Robert W. Ely left for France on a ship known as USS Saxon. Private Ely went missing or died on Oct 5th, 1918, with his status missing in action or lost at sea. He is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing at Suresnes American Cemetery.

According to the Monuments Project, John Tomlinson served in the 316th Engineer’s Division of the U.S. Army. Born in Toppenish in 1894, he is the son of Myrtle Baxter (née Gilbert) and Winchester H. Tomlinson. Tomlinson attended Camp Lewis, in Washington, before he set out for New Jersey. There, he went to Camp Merritt. When he went to these camps is unknown. In New York, on March 16, 1918, John Tomlinson boarded the 509 steamship and set sail for Europe, for the war. He was in the 316th engineers, nicknamed the “Wild West” division. He sailed only for 10 days before he fell sick, and eventually died of pneumonia. They gave him a short memorial, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, before burying him at sea as to not infect other soldiers. To this day, like many other soldiers, John Tomlinson’s body was never found, having been lost at sea. He is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing at Suresnes American Cemetery.

Located just outside of Paris, Suresnes American Cemetery is the final resting place of over 1,500 American Service Members and volunteers who lost their lives in World War I along with 24 unknown dead from World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 soldiers missing in action. Originally serving as a temporary cemetery for the American Hospital of Paris in 1917 toward the end of World War I, General Pershing selected it as the first site of nine permanent American Cemeteries.

Saturday’s ceremony and wreath laying at Suresnes coincides with other events held in France and throughout Europe to mark the centennial of the end of World War I.