Lieut William Eric Aalto

Lieut William Eric Aalto

Birth
Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Death 11 Jun 1958 (aged 42)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Plot Y, 0, 2655
Military 1ST SGT, US ARMY WWII
Memorial ID 250086 · View Source
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A member of the Communist Party, Aalto joined the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, a unit that volunteered to fight for the Popular Front government during the Spanish Civil War.

Aalto arrived in Spain in 1937 and joined the other International Brigades at Albacete. While in Spain he wrote: "A soldier who is politically conscious that he is right and who has a feeling of community with his society will do his job well."

During the Second World War he joined the United States Army and served in North Africa. Aalto was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) but after it was discovered he was homosexual he was dismissed by William Donovan from the service. Aalto returned to the army and while training soldiers he had his hand blown off by a grenade.

After the war Aalto studied at Columbia University. He published several pieces of his writings in the New Masses. After his betrayal by the OSS Lincoln veterans, Aalto drifted away from contact with the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Aalto then travelled to Europe, where he met the poet W.H. Auden. Though sharing the company of other poets, Aalto now wrote little and tended towards alcoholism, frequently becoming violent. Toward the end of his life, he was poet James Schuyler's lover, and featured in the latter's poem Dining Out with Doug and Frank.


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  • Maintained by: Glendora
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 250086
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut William Eric Aalto (30 Jul 1915–11 Jun 1958), Find a Grave Memorial no. 250086, citing Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Glendora (contributor 46931045) .