Category Archives: Announcement

WWI Snapshots will begin on Monday, September 30, 2019

As we prepare for the book preserving the legacies of the WWI veterans of Brunswick County, a dedicated group is working to identify the dates of death and cemetery locations for all of the 725 veterans. Gwen Causey, Amy Eckard, Emma-Lou Edwards, Jane Freach, and Kathryn Kalmanson have contributed to this effort.

While gathering this data, some stories have emerged that must be shared. Photos have been uncovered. And additional stories have been shared by Kathryn Kalmanson, daughter of Susie Carson, the late historian and founder of the Southport Historical Society.

In order to preserve this valuable data, short snapshots are being prepared for the blog in the coming weeks. Some will only consist of a photo which was uncovered, while others will include a brief story of interest.

In addition, the list of veterans may grow or shrink as this research continues.

If anyone would like to share more information about a veteran for a snapshot, or contribute to the effort to identify the dates of death and cemetery locations, please contact the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Thank you!

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Commemorate our heroes of the Old Hickory Division on the Centennial of the end of WWI

A recent item in Wilmington’s Star News called attention to the effort to honor the 119th and 120th Infantry of the 30th “Old Hickory” Division for breaking the Hindenburg Line on September 29, 1918, the bloodiest day in WWI for North Carolina.

Those organizing this effort hope to install a monument in France, as well as replace the small monument currently located on the grounds of the capitol in Raleigh, shown here.

If you would like to contribute to this effort, visit

Our website offers a Roster of many men from Brunswick County serving in WWI, which includes the 30th Division. WWI Profiles are available for those killed or wounded.

In addition, our post 100 years ago today: The breaking of the Hindenburg Line gives more background information on the Brunswick County heroes of the 30th Division.

Thanks to Barbara Griffin for alerting us to this effort!

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New sign installed at rifle range

The funds for the new sign were contributed by
First Bank.

The sign reflects the words from the official national designation awarded by the US WWI Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Thanks to
Senior Vice-President David Kesterson of First Bank
for supporting the Fort Caswell Rifle Range for another year!

Read the 2017 stories:
Brunswick Beacon: First Bank supports historical preservation of World War I structure
State Port Pilot: Effort aimed at saving rifle pit

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A new year brings new goals

Caswell Beach Mayor Deborah Ahlers poses in front of the WWI Monument after receiving the WWI Centennial Memorial Certificate

A year of hard work, contributions, and support from the community for the Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran program culminated on Veterans Day 2018 with the installation and dedication of the Brunswick County WWI Monument at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

We thank the community for their help and for sharing the stories of the sacrifices made not only by the men, women, and families of Brunswick County during World War I, but our ancestors around the country. (Posted Brunswick County WWI Profiles begin with Wagoner Dorman Mercer, while submitted photos and stories can be read on our WWI Wall of Honor.)

In a few weeks, we’ll conclude the weekly WWI Profiles on the website for Brunswick County veterans identified as wounded or died while serving. WWI Profiles will then be posted for the Brunswick County veterans on the WWI Wall of Honor. (Note that the website is about 5 months ahead with profiles that The Brunswick Beacon has not yet published.)

We are grateful that The Brunswick Beacon continues to publish the weekly WWI Profiles. To see the list of the profiles published on the website and those in The Brunswick Beacon as well as other local newspapers, see the list here.

WWI photos and information are always welcome.

New Goals

Stabilization of the target pit has been achieved; restoration is next. A book is planned this year, which will require funding. The Honor a Brunswick County WWI veteran program will continue; donations of any amount are encouraged to honor all of the Brunswick County WWI veterans. To date, 401 of 724 have been honored.

Goals and a detailed list of funds needed will be posted soon.


The Fundraising tab at the top of the website has been replaced by the Events tab. There are several events already planned, such as commemorating the US Entry into WWI, the Armistice, and the Installation and Dedication of the military marker to honor the only known WWI POW Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley.

New Fundraisers

2018 was the sixth and last of the Kentucky Derby Day fundraisers. New fundraising events are planned. These will be posted in the Events section of the website.

New Board Members

With the completion of the memorial and the designation of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range as an official US WWI Centennial Memorial, new board members have been selected. Information will be posted soon.

Thank you for your support!

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Donor honors WWI POW Robert Bollie Stanley with military marker

On February 28, 2018, The State Port Pilot (Southport) published a story ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ served in the Great War about Brunswick County’s WWI Buffalo Soldiers.

WWI Profiles had been featured on this website about the three Brunswick County African American men who were wounded or died while serving with the 92nd Division “Buffalo Soldiers”:

Pvt William Frederick Brooks (Died of Disease),
Pfc William James Gordon (Wounded), and
Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley (Wounded, POW).

While reading the final words in The Pilot (shown below) about Private Robert Bollie Stanley, Brunswick County’s only known WWI Prisoner of War who also lost most of his right leg, donor Allen Dunstan was inspired to come forward and offer to honor the soldier.

“No one requested a military headstone, so this brave soldier’s sacrifice for his nation is not readily apparent.”

Allen contacted The State Port Pilot and requested information about the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Eventually, he was able to share the story of how he came to be in Southport and what inspired him to make the donation.

“I arrived in Southport 5 years ago and a romance was kindled. I had never heard of Southport before I came to work at the Duke Energy power plant. Noticing a modest cross-hatch on the roadmap, and that it was near the plant, I decided to check out the area. Seeing the quaint town and waterfront, it was no decision to remain in Southport.

“Exploring the town and surrounding area, I had visited the two cemeteries in town plus the one near Old Brunswick Town. The markers tell a lot more than simply what’s written on them.

“When I read the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ article in The State Port Pilot, I was touched by the sentence, ‘No one requested a military headstone, so this brave soldier’s sacrifice for his nation is not readily apparent.’ He remains unknown but to God.

“On the one hand, I hope we as a nation never learn the identities of the interred unknown soldiers. They must remain unknown but to God, and thereby provide a measure of hope and comfort to many families in that these tombs could be the final resting places of their loved ones. On the other hand, the resting place for Robert Bollie Stanley is known and I thought it would be an encouragement to his family to have his service recognized.”

The Stanley Cemetery (photo above) is now surrounded by the Brierwood Golf Course.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range reached out to identify the owners of the cemetery as well as locate a descendant for permission. Findagrave photos shown above are courtesy of Marcus Stanley (unrelated) who suggested we contact Joe Stanley for help. Joe Stanley (also unrelated), assisted in finding Pvt Stanley’s grandson because the last remaining survivor, Pvt Stanley’s daughter, had just passed away. We thank everyone for their help.

The permissions have now been received, and the military flat marker ordered and paid for by Allen Dunstan. Installation and dedication is planned for May 7, 2019, at 11:00am.

Thank you, Allen, for your thoughtfulness in honoring Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice!

NOV 6 1894 SEPT 22 1961

Note: The three soldiers listed above were casualties while serving with the Buffalo Soldiers in WWI. Four additional men from Brunswick County have been identified as serving in the infantry for the Buffalo Soldiers. Their names are listed on the 92nd Division rosters.

The Brunswick Beacon also featured the Buffalo Soldiers in their March 1, 2018 issue.

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Ethan Pannkuk achieves Eagle Scout rank with rifle range project

Yesterday we received exciting news from Ethan Pannkuk. The previous evening, January 7, he was awarded the highest rank from the Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout.

Ethan chose the Fort Caswell Rifle Range as the focus of his Eagle Scout Project. He spent many months researching, planning, and raising funds.

Then last March, Ethan and members from BSA Troop 210 of Carolina Beach spent two grueling days working on the target pit at the rifle range.

Ethan is shown at right with his proud father.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range are proud of Ethan’s achievement and appreciate his and his troop members’ hard work on the rifle range.

Stories and photos showing the progress last year can be found here: Day 1 and Day 2.

The State Port Pilot newspaper article about the work can be found here.

The Brunswick Beacon article is here.

The Star News article is here.

Note: The Brunswick Beacon announced Ethan’s milestone in the January 24 edition. Read about it here:
Ethan Pannkuk earns Eagle Scout ranking

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Podcast interview: WWI Centennial News

Last week, Theo Mayer interviewed the Eckards for the weekly podcast “WW1 Centennial News for September 07, 2018 – Episode #88.” These podcasts are held to educate the nation about World War I during the two years leading up to the Centennial Commemoration.

The 100 Cities/100 Memorials segment includes interviews with those behind the rescue of WWI memorials which have been awarded the official designation of National World War I Centennial Memorial, which the rifle range was awarded in May.


Listen to the podcast here: WW1 Centennial News for September 07, 2018 – Episode #88

Click here to view the transcript of the interview: Transcript of 100C_100M podcast episode 88

The WWI Centennial Commission was established by the World War One Centennial Commission Act, passed by the 112th Congress and signed by the President on January 16, 2013. The WWI Centennial Commission Act gave the Commission, among other things, the authority to designate memorials to the service of members of the United States Armed Forces in World War I.

Read the announcement posted on the website in May: WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

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WWI Centennial Memorial plaque and certificate

The plaque and certificate showing the designation of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range Memorial as an Official United States World War I Centennial Memorial have arrived.

The plaque will be installed on the monument which will be dedicated during the ceremony on November 11, 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Another view of the bas relief image (sculpted bronze image). The Doughboy comes alive!

The certificate will be presented to the town of Caswell Beach at a later date.

Click here to read about the official United States designation:
WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range

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Memorial Day 2018: Graveside Honors

Memorial Day is next week.
Many set aside the day to honor veterans at their graveside.

724 World War I veterans have been identified as born, raised, lived, or served in Brunswick County. We encourage you to include the WWI Brunswick County veterans in your Memorial Day plans or throughout the year.

If you take a photograph of yourself alongside a gravesite, the photo will be posted on the website.

A new webpage has been created to help assist in graveside honors.

Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran: Cemeteries contains two lists:

  • The 24 Brunswick County WWI veterans who gave their lives.
  • All known gravesites to date, sorted by location (Ash, Bolivia, Holden Beach, etc.)

Many of their final resting places have not been identified.

Would you like to help?

A book is planned to honor the Brunswick County WWI veterans. Cemetery locations should be included for all of the veterans.

To identify which veterans have unknown gravesites, use the Brunswick County WWI Veterans page. The blue button on the right side at the top of the website can also be used.

If there is no “Date of Death” then no gravesite has been identified.

  • If you find one of these graves, send the findagrave information to and the list will be updated.

Even if the gravesite has already been identified, there may be no photo. If there is a “?” after “Date of Death” then there is no photo of the headstone/flat marker.

  • Take photos of the headstone and/or military flat marker and send to

Please help us create a complete list of cemetery locations for the WWI veterans of Brunswick County.

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Fort Caswell Rifle Range Centennial: May 20, 2018

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 100 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.

Please consider contributing to the Fort Caswell Rifle Range stabilization fund to ensure many more years.

Click the green “How to make a donation” button on the right or click here.

Read about the stabilization efforts in the Stabilization section of the website.

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