In April of 1917 the United States declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. Thousands of men registered for the draft in the month following the declaration, including George A. Newbury (1895-1984), former Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction from 1965-1975.
Newbury, aged 21, registered for the United States Navy, in Ripley, New York, on April 21, 1917. He served in the Navy on the U.S.S. Delaware, one of five American battleships in the 6th Battle Squadron sent to assist the British Grand Fleet around the Orkney Islands near Scotland. Newbury left the Navy in June 1919 with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, seven months after the war ended in November 1918.
The group photograph above shows Newbury—on the far right—with his fellow shipmates aboard the U.S.S. Delaware sometime in 1918. Newbury donated a collection of photographs from his time in the Navy to the Museum
& Library in 1978. The images show daily life on a wartime battleship, from recreational activities to the visits of foreign dignitaries. Almost all of the photographs include the handwritten letters, "McK," near the bottom of the prints. Staff is currently researching Naval photographers to learn more about who "McK" was and if there are other similar images attributed to that photographer. To see more photographs from life aboard the U.S.S. Delaware visit our online collections page here.
To learn more about other World War I items in our collection, visit our exhibition “Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters,” on view through June 2018.
Proceedings of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the 33 degree, for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America (Lexington, MA: Supreme Council 33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, 1984)
Naval History and Heritage Command. USS Delaware (Battleship # 28, later BB-28), 1910-1924. www.history.navy.mil/. https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-navy-ships/battleships/delaware-bb-28.html, accessed March 16, 2018.