Editor’s note: Captions have been changed to reflect the event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 27.
WESTERLY — The death of one of three soldiers from Westerly who received the Distinguished Service Cross for valor during World War I will be commemorated during a ceremony scheduled for Thursday at the World War I memorial in Wilcox Park.
The event, which will begin at 3 p.m., will recall the life and service of Josiah Broadfoot, whose name was given to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter: Josiah Broadfoot #6 on Beach Street.
“We’re named after him and I started to wonder who is this guy and how did we come to be named for him?” said Robert Greene, commander of the Josiah Broadfoot #6 chapter, explaining the origin of the ceremony.
According to the citation that accompanied his posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross, Broadfoot was serving with U.S. Army Company B, 244th Tank Battalion, Tank Corps, American Expeditionary Forces, near La Forge Farm, France, on Sept. 27, 1918 when he volunteered to drive a tank.
His services were accepted and he attacked enemy machine-gun nests until his tank was put out of action. He then reportedly continued the advance on foot until he was shot and died a day later. The ceremony will take place 100 years to the day after the West Street resident was injured.
Greene said Broadfoot’s story is that of a hero. “He received the second highest award for gallantry. That is something that most people will never see,” said Greene, who lives in Hopkinton.
The ceremony will include speakers discussing Broadfoot and his life and achievements and the issuance of proclamations from state and town officials. The Westerly Police Honor Guard will participate and a roll call of military personnel from Westerly and Pawcatuck who died in World War I will be performed.
Corporal Broadfoot is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France. A large granite cross was erected in his memory in his family’s plot in River Bend Cemetery on Beach Street.
Disabled American Veterans is a non-profit national organization that serves disabled veterans and their families by assisting with rides for medical appointment, securing benefits and employment, and fulfilling other needs.