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Narberth People

Domenico Corvaro


Domenico is listed on the Narberth Roll of Honor as one of the honorary American Legion Post members who "paid the supreme sacrifice" in World War I. His name is inscribed on the Narberth War Memorial.

Passenger lists show Domenico arrived in New York from Naples March 12 or 13, 1913, aboard the S.S. Sant' Anna, age 24.

There has been disagreement, characterized by Victoria Donohoe as "at times…ugly" whether Domenico was actually the first Narberth killed in action in the war, earlier than Harold Speakman, for whom the Narberth American Legion Post is named, with this rationale. The inference is that Corvaro was passed over due to bias against his Italian origin.

"First killed" is not a naming requirement. Nevertheless, the Legion's choice of a namesake is not surprising. Before the war, 20-year-old Harold was socially well connected, part of a large local family, a popular athlete and actor, an eligible bachelor whose name appears over and over in Our Town.

Domenico was older, a recent immigrant who rented an apartment on Hampden Ave.'s "Brick Row", with no immediate relatives nearby. Narberth's Italian-Americans were a minority comprising barely 2% of the town in the years leading up to the war, and seldom, if ever, mentioned in the local society column. In the army, Domenico was a Private, while Harold was a Second Lieutenant.

6x4 index card form
Corvaro's service documents record his death (top right) September 1, 1918, 38 days later than Speakman's (July 25th, 1918)

Today, with ever more documents becoming available online, it is clear that Harold was killed 38 days before Domenico. Beyond the dispute, both young men were united by the war: they served in the same regiment and fought in the same engagements.

Dominic is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery (Plot A, Row 15, Grave 28) in France, eternally 30 yards from Harold.

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