Corporal Earl Ervin Perkins served in the US Army during World War Two. He was 30 years old and hailed from Crosby, North Dakota.
Perkins became the first serving member of the United States forces to die in Northern Ireland. He died in hospital after a fatal accident during rifle-cleaning operations. The American infantryman was standing sideways when hit, causing the bullet to pass through both lungs.
The Corporal was an unmarried man and both parents had passed away. Therefore, the US Army made the decision to bury him in Northern Ireland. On 12th March 1942, his funeral took place from Wiltons’ Funeral Directors, Crumlin Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
A coffin draped in the American flag proceeded to Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Division Chaplain Major De Loss Marken and Lieutenant Warren Hall conducted the ceremony attended by other members of the company.
Major Marken from College Avenue Christian Church, Des Moines, Iowa paid tribute to Corporal Perkins. He said that although the US military man’s body lay in Irish soil, it was a resting place among friends. After burial, authorities sent the flag on the Perkins’ next of kin.
American authorities repatriated all US service personnel buried in Belfast City Cemetery to a new site at Lisnabreeny American Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Down.