2005-05-26 / Top Stories

Plaques At P.S. 115 Honor Local World War I Heroes

By Dara Mormile

One plaque at  P.S. 115 is dedicated to Corporal James Wanser, “who died in the World War 1914 — 1918.” 
One plaque at P.S. 115 is dedicated to Corporal James Wanser, “who died in the World War 1914 — 1918.” For many years it was a tradition for Canarsie’s Memorial Day parade to stop in front of Public School 115, where plaques were embedded in the bases of trees planted in memory of several local World War I heroes. In a tribute to those veterans, honor guards fired salvos in their honor.

The honor guard ceremony no longer takes place and the plaques, honoring Corporal James Wanser and Privates Charles Benson, Albert Abeler and James Duley, have been relocated to the school’s wrought iron fence on East 92 Street,

Three of the veterans whose names are on plaques at P.S. 115 are interred at Canarsie Cemetery and will be honored as part of a ceremony Monday.
Three of the veterans whose names are on plaques at P.S. 115 are interred at Canarsie Cemetery and will be honored as part of a ceremony Monday. According to the late historian John Denton, Abeler was one of the first to die as a member of the 106th Infantry Regiment from Bedford and Atlantic avenues in Brooklyn. Abeler resided at 1224 East 92 Street and served overseas from May 10 to Septem-ber 27, 1918. He was 24 years old when he was killed in action.

Wanser served overseas from August 27, 1918 to January, 1919. According to Denton, Wanser was from a well-known Canarsie family that lived at East 93rd Street and Avenue K. Wanser was a member of the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marine Corp. He was 20 years old when he died of an unknown disease. When Wanser was brought home for a military funeral, all of the veterans from Canarsie turned out, including a few who served in the Civil War. During the tribute, a flag-draped, horse-drawn caisson carrying Wanser was escorted by a military contingent down East 92nd Street.

War records show Duley was born in Stratford Connecticut, eventually moving to Canarsie. He served in the Great War from August 3, to October 7 1918. He died at the age of 23.

As part of the modern day Memorial Day parade ceremonies, including the march next Monday, participants pass Canarsie Cemetery, where Van Houten, Aleber and Wanser are buried.

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