Veterans Day 2023

On November 11, 1918, at 11am (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), World War I ended. In the years following, ceremonies were held to honor the day, known as Armistice Day.

Armistice Day became a national holiday in the United States in 1938. It was a celebration of the “war to end all wars.” But a few years later, a new world war broke out.

Veterans Day became the new national holiday in 1954, a day to recognize all veterans.

In April of this year, The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range completed their mission to honor the World War I veterans from Brunswick County by reading their names. World War I is commonly known as the Forgotten War. These Roll Calls ensured that the names of the men and women and their sacrifices would not be forgotten.

Today we honor all who served.

Most of the photos of Brunswick County WWI veterans in their uniforms were shared by their descendants. From the top left: Harry Clayton Chinnis (pictured at right), Henry Lindon Clemmons, Lennox Walker Clemmons, John Daniel Eriksen, David Bertram Frink, John William Lancaster, David Elton Lewis, Dorman Lowell Mercer, William Winfield Millinor, Jackson Berry Potter, Robert Eugene Robbins, Craven Ledrew Sellers, Robert Bollie Stanley, William Thompson White, George Finnis Willetts, Henry David Williams and Albert Warren Williams, Susan Adkins Williams (unconfirmed)

To see the list of veterans who served in World War I from Brunswick County, and the names of the nurses who served at Fort Caswell during WWI, use these links. Those veterans with a written profile may be accessed using the links on these lists.
Brunswick County WWI Veterans
Fort Caswell WWI Nurses

Read more about the origins of Veterans Day here.

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After 105 years, Shallotte WWI veteran receives Purple Heart

Dylan Phillips/Brunswick Beacon

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, the family of Robert Bollie Stanley accepted his Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal, the World War I Victory Button and World War I Victory Medal with St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Battle clasps and France Service clasp. The ceremony took place in Stanley Cemetery, located in Brierwood in Shallotte, which is built on land the Stanley family once owned and farmed.

Read the story about the ceremony on the front page of the June 22 issue of the Brunswick Beacon. A copy of the story from the newspaper may be downloaded here:
After 105 years, Shallotte WWI veteran receives Purple Heart.

This and other stories from the media may also be located using the News tab on this website.

The photo above includes the following family members of Robert Bollie Stanley:

Grandchildren Anna F. Stanley, Annie L. Stanley White, Carolyn Hill, Deborah Bolin, Ella Johnson, Fred “Stan” Stanley (grandson/adopted son), Gloria A. Stanley, Henry M. Stanley, Leroy Hill and wife Joanne Hill, and Robert P. Stanley
Great-Grandchildren Joshra Stanley, Tilita Alexander, and S. Raford Stanley
Great-Great-Grandchild Mila Alexander
Cousin Linward Stanley

Additional family members not present in the photo:

Granddaughter Vivian Stanley
Great-grandchildren Aubria and Payton Bolin

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Brunswick Town Chapter, NSDAR, would like to thank several organizations and individuals who helped to make this day a memorable experience for the Stanley family:

American Legion Post 550, Shallotte, for placing an overhead tent and POW/MIA table, displaying the POW and American flags, the prayers by the chaplain, mowing, directing traffic, bringing water bottles, and especially the attendance of several local veterans to honor Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice.
Stuart Freeman, for his playing of Taps
Daniel “Chocolate” Myers and wife Caron Myers for construction of the signage to the cemetery, gathering chairs, and contacting politicians and other groups to request support for the event.
Brunswick Beacon Editor Dylan Phillips for his photos and story, as well as 25 copies of the June 8 issue of the Brunswick Beacon for the family, which included the story of Private Robert Bollie Stanley.
John and Dorothy Crawford of Caswell Beach for the beautiful flag quilt presented to Fred Stanley.

Stuart Freeman playing Taps
Photo courtesy of Pat Steele

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Family of Private Robert Bollie Stanley prepares to receive Purple Heart after 105 years

Private Robert Bollie Stanley in uniform.
The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and The Brunswick Town Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution received word that the military has verified Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley’s entitlement to a Purple Heart posthumously and additional medals for his sacrifices in the Great War.

Pvt Stanley’s military story follows.

When the 365th Infantry embarked in Brest, France, on February 17, 1919, to return to their loved ones in the United States, Private Robert Bollie Stanley did not join them. Instead, he was recovering from a battle in which he was wounded, taken prisoner by the enemy, and suffered the amputation of most of his right leg. He returned to the US over a month later on March 24, 1919, but was not discharged until completing five months of additional recovery. On August 25, 1919, he returned home with a 95% disability classification.


Robert Bollie Stanley was born and raised in Shallotte. He was called to duty for World War I on March 29, 1918. He was one of a total of 25 Black men from Brunswick County ordered to report that day. Their destination was Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois.

Very few Black Americans served in combat units during WWI, instead serving mostly as laborers. Months after the US entered WWI, the War Department created two divisions, the 92nd Buffalo Soldiers Division, in honor of Black troops who served in the American West after the Civil War; and the 93rd Blue Helmets. Both divisions were comprised of primarily Black combat units. The soldiers of the 92nd and the 93rd infantry divisions were the first Americans to fight in France.

After arriving in Camp Grant, only three of the draftees from Brunswick County out of the original 25 from that day were chosen for the honor of a combat position in the 92nd Division. The three men were Pvt William Frederick Brooks (Died of Disease), Pfc William James Gordon (Wounded) and Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley (Wounded, POW). These men began training with Company H, 365th Infantry, 92nd Buffalo Soldiers Division in preparation for combat in France. Ultimately there were a total of seven Black men from Brunswick County holding combat positions in the 92nd Division.

The 365th Infantry was scheduled to board the USS Agamemnon at Hoboken, NJ, on June 10, 1918, to travel overseas to France. William Frederick Brooks was scratched from the passenger list, dying of meningitis three days later.

The 365th Infantry reached Brest, France, on June 19, 1918. They immediately began an eight week period of intensive training in offensive and defensive tactics. In August, they took up positions in the St. Dié sector, where they received their first contact with the enemy.

A journal written by their captain, Raymond Earl Hill, brings the countryside and experiences alive. One entry in August describes Captain Hill’s first experience of shellfire, giving a glimpse into what Pfc Gordon and Pvt Stanley were experiencing.

“I had my first experience of shell fire. It is an experience that one cannot well describe. You hear the boom of the distant gun then the rushing whine and screeching of the shell as it passes, then you wait for the terrific explosion wondering how far beyond you it will strike. It sure causes a weakness in the knees and a funny feeling up your back. The man that says he was not scared at those first shells he heard is either a damn fool or a liar.”

On October 9, the 92nd Division relieved the French 68th Division and assumed command of the Marbache Sector. Their mission was to hold the line of the First Army east of Moselle, harassing the enemy by frequent patrols. During this period until October 31, the division was engaged in patrolling on the front.

On October 29, 1918, Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley was reported missing. He had been captured by the enemy and was not released until November 27, 1918.


After the war, Robert married Ethel Harrison. She passed away at a young age, leaving several young children motherless. Robert Stanley ultimately raised five children on his own, including his grandson, Fred “Stan” Stanley, who he adopted and raised like a son.

Two of Pvt Stanley’s sons served in WWII, one with the US Army and the other in the Navy. Pvt Stanley’s last direct descendant, his youngest child, passed away in 2018. Stan, his grandson, served in the Navy for 20 years, followed by 21 years in the US Merchant Marines, retiring in 2010. He lives in North Carolina today. Stan continues the story of Robert Stanley’s life.

“Dad, which I called him, was a farmer, and I started at 9th grade and had quite an agricultural program until I graduated. That was our joy, planting, growing [raising] pigs, and all the support crops.

“We liked going to Shallotte Point to meet the fishing boats to get fresh seafood.”

In 1961, two weeks after Stan graduated from high school, Robert Stanley suffered a stroke, and 17-year-old Stan delayed his entrance into the Navy to care for the man who had already sacrificed so much.

“I was by his bedside to watch him take his last breaths as God took him.”

That year in September, Robert Stanley passed away. Stan recalls,

“He never complained even when he was in excruciating pain, and never talked about the war.”

Robert Bollie Stanley was laid to rest on September 22, 1961, in the same cemetery as his parents. He did not have a military headstone, so no WWI honors were displayed, giving no indication he made such considerable sacrifices for his country.

On May 7, 2019, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, along with members of the Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, paid tribute to Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley, WWI Brunswick County veteran and only known POW.

The family members, pictured from left to right: Vivian Stanley, granddaughter; Leroy Hill, grandson; Ellis Stanley, cousin; Deborah Bolin, granddaughter; Fred “Stan” Stanley, grandson; Anna White, granddaughter; Joe Stanley, cousin

A flat military-style marker which was installed and dedicated was purchased with funds donated by Allen Dunstan, an out of town visitor who was deeply touched by Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice. Five of Pvt Stanley’s descendants, along with two cousins and a friend attended the ceremony and received the thanks and recognition for his sacrifice.

It was at this ceremony that Robert Stanley’s family mentioned their interest in obtaining a Purple Heart for his service. Pvt Stanley would have received a wound chevron for his combat injuries. The Purple Heart, created by George Washington in 1782, was not officially re-established until 1932. Anyone who was killed or wounded in war since April 5, 1917, became eligible for the new medal.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range took up the challenge. Finally, on May 17, 2023, they received word that the medals and ribbons were on their way.

They experienced a heart stopping moment when they received notification from USPS tracking that the package had been delivered, but they had not received it.

“The thought of Pvt Stanley’s medals and ribbons being lost in transport was too much to bear.”

What a joyous moment when the box arrived the following day.

“We did it!”

The letter detailing the contents included the following declaration.

We have verified Mr. Stanley’s entitlement to the following awards:

•Purple Heart (permanent order and certificate enclosed).
•Prisoner of War Medal.
•World War I Victory Medal with St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Battle clasps and France Service clasp.
•World War I Victory Button — Silver.

On June 17, 2023, the ceremony to deliver the medals and awards to Robert Stanley’s family will be held at the cemetery where he was laid to rest.

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Memorial Day 2023

We will not forget.

The 23 Brunswick County men who gave their lives in World War I

Killed in Action: Died of Disease:
PFC Walter S Brock PVT William F Brooks
PVT Harvey T Chadwick PFC John W Carlisle
PVT Jimmie Griffin PVT Carl J Danford
PFC Erastus Iredell Nelson Cook David L Dosher
PVT Harry Langdon Pigott Seaman James C Edwards
CPL Herbert B Ward SGT Robert G Farmer
PVT Manning Hall
Died of Wounds: PVT Claudie Hall McCall
PVT William Cross Hewett PVT Elijah Milliken
PVT Benjamin B Smith PVT Kendrick W Outlaw
PVT Cecil Smith Pierce
PVT Samuel C Swain
PVT Guy Ellis Watson
PVT David Williams
PVT Fred Wilson


Soldiers on our WWI Wall of Honor who gave their lives

Killed in Action: Died of Accident:
CPL Russell Kellogg Bourne PVT James Hemphill
SGT Richard J. Dennis
PFC Louis “Lolly” B. Doerr Died of Wounds:
Mech Dona J. Dugal PVT Edward Clarkson Bonnell
PFC Wilmer H. Eicke
PVT Ben W. O. Hildebrandt Died of Disease:
PFC Robert Anthony Strzempek PFC Vito Copola
PVT Carl F. Greene


The Brunswick County World War I Monument

“Dedicated to the men and women from Brunswick County, NC
who served their country during World War I
with Honor, Courage, and Commitment”

Center photo courtesy of Christine Urick

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The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 105 years old today

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 105 years old today.
MAY 20TH 1918

Date on south wall

On January 21, 1918, the United States War Department proposed the construction of a rifle range adjacent to Fort Caswell, NC, for small arms training of soldiers “in view of the immediate necessity for instruction of men destined for over-seas duty” in World War I.

Continue reading and view the documents in the History section of the website.

Thank you to those who have joined us in saving this relic of the United States’ involvement in World War I!

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The Brunswick County WWI Roll Call: Mission Complete

On Veterans Day in 2018, the Brunswick County World War I Monument was dedicated at the site of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, a nationally designated World War I Centennial Memorial. The Roll Call began that day to honor the 718 men and one nurse from Brunswick County who served in World War I.

Five years have passed since the Roll Call began, the completion delayed by the pandemic.

On April 4, 2023, the mission of honoring all WWI veterans from Brunswick County was completed with the calling of the final group of names.

View the Brunswick County WWI Veteran Roll of Honor to discover the date each veteran was honored during a ceremony at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

To view more details about the veterans, view the complete Brunswick County WWI Veteran list.

Stay tuned for more information about the completed mission.

Photo above: Veteran Fred “Stan” Stanley reading the Roll Call on Veterans Day 2019. His grandfather, WWI Veteran Robert Bollie Stanley, was the only WWI POW from Brunswick County. His family was honored during the 2019 ceremony.

Photo courtesy of Phyllis Wilson.

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20 Best Things to Do in Oak Island, NC

Quite a few readers have arrived at our website from a link to this story: 20 Best Things to do in Oak Island, NC.

The Travel Lens website describes the author Blake Walsh as a photographer and travel journalist from the UK. “He’s a travel addict visiting over 50 countries and has published over 500 articles about his travel adventures.”

Thank you, Mr. Walsh, for including the Fort Caswell Rifle Range in your list of 20 best things to do in Oak Island, NC!

Photo of the WWI Centennial Commemoration and Brunswick County WWI Memorial Dedication, November 2018

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Our Second Newsletter

The second Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range newsletter was recently sent via email to supporters. While the intention was to distribute more frequent newsletters, illnesses caused delays.

Included in the newsletter:

  • The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 105 years old on May 20, 2023. Without your support, it may not still exist today! Thank you!
  • The rifle range had a special cleaning, as shown above.
  • Updates on a few special friends.
  • Plans and future needs.
  • Updates on book sales and donations.
  • Items from our mailbox.
  • A short overview of the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range (FFCRR), which traces back to 2011.
  • The membership campaign continues in 2023 to raise money to fulfill the FFCRR mission.

The newsletter may be downloaded here: Winter 2022-2023 FFCRR Newsletter

If you would like to be added to our newsletter email list, please send your email address to

We apologize to anyone who did not receive the newsletter. The email address we have for you may be out of date or missing.

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In the News – December 8, 2022

Thank you for joining us in November for the Veterans Day program.

The Brunswick Beacon published a very nice feature in the December 8 edition, which can be read here:
NSDAR in Brunswick, area rifle range honor veterans

The State Port Pilot also published a story on November 16. It may be available online here:
Event at WWI site at Caswell Beach honors veterans

The next Roll Call is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 6th, 2023, to commemorate the date the US entered World War I in 1917.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season!

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November 14, 2022: The Veterans Day program has been rescheduled

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range has moved the Veterans Day event to Monday, November 14, 2022, due to the tropical storm Nicole. Same place, beside the rifle range at Caswell Beach, same time, at 11:00 am.

Park in condo parking lots, not on the grass, and bring a folding chair to sit on.

Thank you,
Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range Board Members

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