American Legion Post 82 in Gorham, N.H., was organized and chartered as Dupont-Holmes Post 82 on Feb. 21, 1928, with 30 members. Post 82 was named for two local residents who died in World War I, Ernest Dupont and William Holmes.
Ernest Dupont, Fireman 3rd Class, U.S. Navy, was lost at sea when his ship, USS Ticonderoga, was sunk by a German U-boat in the Atlantic. Ticonderoga was a German cargo ship that was seized by U.S. Customs officials in 1917 and turned over to the Navy to be refitted as an armed ship of the U.S. Naval Overseas Transport Service (NOTS). On its third voyage to France, carrying both troops and cargo, it developed engine trouble and was forced to fall behind the convoy in which it was traveling. Soon afterwards on the night of 29/30 Sept 1918, it was attacked by the German submarine U-152 which was traveling on the surface. After an long surface gun battle, Ticonderoga sank at 0745 hours on 30 Sept, taking 213 soldiers and sailors with it, including Ernest Dupont. There were only 24 survivors from Ticonderoga. Dupont is memorialized on the Wall of the Missing at the U.S. Military Cemetery, Suresnes, France, in the outskirts of Paris.
Sadly, much about William Holmes, PFC, U.S. Army, has been lost over the years. What is known is that as a member of the 57th Coast Artillery Regiment, he died on Nov. 8, 1918 - a scant three days before the Armistice took effect - and is buried in Plot H, Row 34, Grave 28 at the U.S. Meuse-Argonne Military Cemetery in the village of Romagne-sur-Montfaucon in eastern France. What is not known is whether Holmes was killed in action, died of combat wounds, died in a non-combat accident or succumbed to a disease. Post 82 is now trying to research additional information on Holmes.
In honoring its namesakes (as well as all veterans), Post 82 remains today a vibrant and active entity, complete with both an Auxiliary unit and a Sons of the American Legion squadron. While not organized and chartered until 1928, Post 82 is looking forward to celebrating its centennial in nine years.