Donald E. Carlton

  • Cadet
  • WW I


Donald Ellsworth Carlton was born in Franklin, New Hampshire in 1895.  He was the son of Marshall Carlton and Grace Derby.   His family moved to Providence when he was two years old.  He entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1914 with the class of 1918. Donald majored in Agriculture.  He was known as “Shrimp and Rut.”  He served as the Baseball Manager and participated in the Army ROTC Program while a student at RISC.

When the United States entered World War I, there were 562 male students enrolled at Rhode Island State College; 334 left to serve in WW I. Donald, like so many of his classmates, departed college before he graduated and enlisted in the US Army Air Services.  He left RISC in May of 1917 to attend Plattsburg Reserve Officer Training Camp.  He was selected for aviation training and attended Ground School at M.I.T., graduating on 25 August 1917.  On 18 Sep 1917, Cadet Carlton departed the United States for England aboard the USS Carmania.  He was assigned to the Oxford School of Military Aeronautics and trained to be an aviator.  Carlton became a member of the 150-man “Second Oxford Detachment.”

In mid-January 1918, Cadet Carlton was assigned to the 48th Training Squadron at Waddington, England.  He excelled during this long and challenging aviation training.  On 19 Feb 1918, Cadet Carlton departed on a training flight from Waddington to Grantham, England.  He was flying alone in an R.E.8 aircraft.  During the flight, he encountered aircraft problems which caused his aircraft to enter a nose down-spin from which he could not recover.  Cadet Donald Ellsworth Carlton perished in the crash.  The R.A.F. incident casualty report stated that Donald Carlton died in the line of duty.  A military funeral was held on 22 Feb 1918 at Newport Cemetery in Lincoln, England.  His remains were reinterred at the Brookwood American Military Cemetery in Surrey, England.  Cadet Donald E. Carlton, US Army Air Services, answered the call to serve America with courage and honor during World War I.