Jacobus van der Moere is the earliest confirmed ancestor in our line of the van der Moere family. He was a sailor or skipper by trade and lived in the town of Wissenkerke in the province of Zeeland. At the tail end of Napoleon’s occupation of the Netherlands in 1813, poorly-armed citizens of the small island of Noord-Beveland fought back the last of the French occupying troops. Surprised by the determined resistance, the French troops tried to flee back to their ships. Jacobus van der Moere was among the Dutch fighters defending Noord-Beveland. He survived a stab wound to side of his body from a Frenchman’s bayonet.
Hopestill Armstrong was a private in Capt. Elijah Dewey’s Co. of Col. Moses Robinson’s Regt. of the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont. Ensign Nathaniel Fillmore Sr. was Hopestill’s relative by marriage and the grandfather of the Thirteenth President of the United States, Millard Fillmore. Together they fought at the Battle of Bennington.
Oliver Armstrong of Bennington, Vermont came into this world with big shoes to fill. He was born 26 Apr 1783, at the tail end of America’s war for Independence. His father Hopestill, along with uncles John, Lebbeus and Hezekiah Armstrong, were veterans of the Battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary War.
“The enemy pressed us, and we were ordered to retire in haste. We all ran as hard as we could go, and when I had ran only a few yards, my foot struck against a dead man, and I was thrown headlong to the ground, on my face, with considerable force.”
“Can I take it? The older men had met and recognized this fear, had accepted it and wasn’t ashamed of it. They had found that a man can do a lot when he is scared. To these men who had felt the weight of exploding bombs weaken their knees, who had watched tracers zip over and around them and who had seen the death and destruction that a torpedo can cause, came the thought that maybe the odds would catch them tomorrow.”
The history of the caddies at Walton Heath in these early days includes strikes, riots, murder, illegal gambling and organized theft. In response came significant labor reform and important contributions to the British war effort in WWI. Both are a testament to the integrity of the club and its employees.
The USS St. Mary’s was the second ship in the center column after the flagship USS Chilton. At 18:38, the ship formation was attacked without warning by about 10 Japanese suicide bombers. One hundred and forty one men died within minutes. At 18:38: the USS Chilton, directly in front of the St. Mary’s, was struck first from the starboard quarter.