Group seeking relatives of fallen NH servicemen

A group of New Hampshire servicemen who died in World War II and the Korean War will be honored posthumously Aug. 8, but the group holding the ceremony is still looking for family members of more than two dozen of the men, including three from Nashua.

Sixty-one New Hampshire servicemen are known to have died in captivity in those two wars.

The Ex-POW Order has found next of kin for about 35 of them, and expects family members of at least 20 to attend the ceremony.

The ceremony will be conducted by members of several chapters of The Military Order of the Purple Heart at 1 p.m. in the Veterans Cemetery in Hooksett. Gov. John Lynch is expected to attend, and Blue and Gold Star Mothers will also take part.

The men from Nashua whose family members have not been found include:

Roland J. Maynard, an Army private first class captured in Belgium. He was last reported on Jan. 2, 1945, in Germany, with the notation “executed or shot while attempting escape.” He was born in Nashua on June 5, 1924, son of Joseph and Leontine (Dube) Maynard. He enlisted in Manchester on July 14, 1943.

Aurel N. Tremblay, a private first class, 24th division 19th regiment, taken prisoner in Korea on July 30, 1950, reported murdered in a tunnel near Sunchon, North Korea, on Oct. 20, 1950. He was born in 1927.

Paul H. Jordon, an infantry captain, reported missing in North Korea on Nov. 2, 1950, and declared dead April 30, 1951.

In addition, family members are being sought for four men who are from Hillsborough County, community unknown: Waldo H. Balukevicuis (perhaps Belkovick); Patrick T. McLaughlin; James J. Picard; and Paul H. Prescott.

At the ceremony, a relative of each deceased veteran will accept a Purple Heart Medal on behalf of the veteran.

The ceremony is in response to the “Honor Our Fallen Prisoners of War Act” passed by Congress in 2006.

The provisions of the act were implemented in October 2008 and include the awarding of the Purple Heart.

New Hampshire is the first state to do so.

Former Lyndeborough resident Philip Botsford also is among those who will be honored.

Botsford’s family lived in Lyndeborough from 1920 through 1942. He was the fifth of six children and the medal will be accepted by his younger brother Donald, who lives in Hooksett.

His sister, Madeline Whitney, lived in Lyndeborough until about 1950.

Botsford was a private first class when captured in Korea. He was reported dead on July 20, 1950.

The objectives of the Ex-POW Order are two-fold, according to spokesman Allan Gavan.

“The first is to locate the next of kin of the men who died in captivity and not yet identified, and second and equally important, we want to find relatives of any P.O.W. anywhere in the country,” Gavan said.

The organization traces its origin to a gathering on April 14, 1942, called after wives and mothers heard about atrocities and sub-human treatment of prisoners in Japanese prison camps.

Originally called together by Mrs. C.W. Bilford and Mrs. F.E. London, the organization was formed at the Bataan Relief Organization by Dr. V.H. Spensley of Albuquerque, N.M. After World War II, the name was changed to include POWs from all theaters. The New Hampshire chapter is headed by Commander Irene Wells, of Hillsborough.

All ex-POWs are welcome at meetings the second Monday of the month at 1 p.m. at the V.A. Hospital in Manchester. Sheila Peters, Veterans Affairs POW coordinator, may be reached at 1-800-892-8384, ext. 1614, for information.

Anyone with information about the men whose family members have not been found is asked to contact Gavan at 253-9359 or