Henry E.M. Suckley volunteered for AFS with unit SSU 3 in February 1915, serving alongside future AFS Director General Stephen Galatti and Lost Generation painter Waldo Peirce. Suckley served overseas for more than two years, moving from Alsace, Lorraine, and Verdun into the Balkans as chef of unit SSU 10 in late 1916. Tragically, Suckley was mortally wounded by a bomb dropped from a German plane above Zemlak, Albania on March 18, 1917; he was carried to a hospital in Koritza by one of unit’s ambulances, and died a day later.
Suckley’s family home, Wilderstein, is now a historic site home in Rhinebeck, New York. The last resident of the Wilderstein home was Suckley’s sister, Margaret, who was better known as “Daisy.” Daisy was a nurse’s aid during the war, tending the wounded on Ellis Island in New York City. After the war, she traveled extensively with her cousin, U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and helped to establish his presidential library in Hyde Park, New York. The Wilderstein home is now featuring a special exhibition showcasing the family’s involvement in World War I, including Suckley’s service with AFS and Daisy’s activities on Ellis Island.
The Wilderstein historic site contains many of Suckley’s wartime items, many of which have been digitized and are available online. This includes his diary from 1917, written in the months before he was killed. You can also read the newly-scanned diaries of ambulance drivers who served in Suckley’s AFS units on the AFS website here!