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Adams Great War Veteran Made Sure Others Not Forgotten
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:32AM / Sunday, November 11, 2018
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ADAMS, Mass. — World War I veteran Roy Carpenter not only served his country overseas but also when he returned home.
 
Local historian Eugene Michalenko said Carpenter was one of the nearly 140 soldiers from Adams who served during the final months of World War I, and like his fellow National Guardsmen in Company M, he was excited to go.  
 
"Oh definitely," he said. "They were all hyped up. There definitely were no slackers. Everybody was ready to go."
 
Like many in Adams, Carpenter was a young mill worker in the Renfrew Mills before being deployed on July 1917. After training, the group landed in France in October where the war was well underway.
 
Carpenter was 20 years old.
 
According to an Adams Historical Society Newsletter, Carpenter fought in the Battle of Apremont on April 10 with Company M that was mustered into federal service as part of the 26th Yankee Division's 104th Infantry. 
 
"The casualty rate was just astounding like tens of thousands died in a few days. It was just incredible," Michalenko said. 
 
Carpenter also fought in the 2nd Battle of the Marne on July 18 through the 25. This was the last major German offensive on the Western Front during the war.
 
Carpenter advanced on St. Mihiel Salient ion Sept. 16 with the 26th Division, which was there through the Sept. 20. Carpenter was also in the concluding 5th battle of Verdun on October 18 through Nov. 11. He would later be presented with a Purple Heart in 1964.
 
With the conclusion of the war, he returned home to fanfare in town.
 
"There was definitely war fervor in Adams. Everybody was into the war," Michalenko said. "I found the fourth Liberty Loan War Bond supposedly raised $800,000 and if you go by the inflation calculator, I want to say that is like $13 million. There were more people here back then but that is a lot of money."
 
Carpenter became active in the American Legion and in the 1950s and '60s took it upon himself to locate every veteran's grave in town.
 
"He went to all of the meetings and made sure all the graves were decorated," Michalenko said. "He was on the Cemetery Commission and made sure that all of the veterans graves were found … he is credited with the most complete list of graves."
 
Many of these smaller cemeteries were well off the beaten path and contained the remains of Civil War veterans but thanks to Carpenter there is a record.
 
Carpenter died in 1970 at age 72 but his efforts live on and the Cemetery Commission plans to spearhead an effort to clean up these old cemeteries many of which are overgrown and far out of the public consciousness. 
 
"We found there are multiple cemeteries in Adams some you may not even be able to find," Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Shepley said at a recent meeting. "I think it would be a nice idea to see if there is a civic group that would want to take this on and help clean up."
 
Shepley said there are seven or eight of these cemeteries and that many of these cemeteries are surrounded by private property and may not have a right of way. He said they plan to research deeds and speak with town counsel to see if they can access these cemeteries. 
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