Charles Henry Demers

Died September 30, 1918, age 24, of influenza, at Camp Merritt, New

Charles Henry Demers was born on July 5, 1894, in Spencer,
Massachusetts, the son of Charles J. and Celina Demers. A tall, slender
youth, Demers worked as a weaver in the Millbury Mills, and enlisted on
December 7, 1917. He was initially assigned to Company 17 of the U.S.
Army Coast Artillery Corps at Boston Harbor’s Fort Revere, in Hull,
Massachusetts, and transferred on September 21, 1918, to Camp Merritt,
New Jersey.

Demers’ arrival at Camp Merritt coincided with the outbreak of the Spanish
flu there. The epidemic claimed 578 lives at Fort Merritt, including Demers on
September 30.

His funeral was held October 4, 1918, from the home of his mother on Elm
Street, with a requiem Mass celebrated by the Rev. Joseph O. Comtois at
the Church of the Assumption. Heis buried in St. Brigid’s Cemetery beside
George Devoe.

Demers’ friends and cousins served as pallbearers, and two of the town’s
Civil War veterans, Henry F. Hobart and Lyman S. Waters, provided a
military salute.

“Private Demers was an excellent soldier, who was universally liked by this
officers and fellow soldiers,” Major J. I. Sloan wrote to Demers’ mother on
October 4. “And his untimely death is a source of genuine regret to us all. His
death occurred in the line of duty and is no less honorable than had it
occurred on the field of battle."