William S. Langston, 98, British World War I veteran

William S. Langston, a decorated British World War I veteran who founded a Roland Park home-improvement business and befriended British seamen stationed here during World War II, died Oct. 23 at St. Joseph Medical Center of complications from a broken hip. He was 98 and lived in Govans.

He was born in London in a working-class Cockney neighborhood and served for seven years in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and later as a driver in the horse-drawn Royal Field Artillery.


He was wounded and gassed several times and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in 1917. Five years later, he and his bride, the former Dorothy Cecelia Anne Wheeler, immigrated to New York City, then moved to Riderwood in Baltimore County.

Mr. Langston was a mason and carpenter and founded the Embla Park Home Improvement Co. in 1923 to work on houses in Guilford, Roland Park and Homeland. He also built the horse stables at Sagamore Farms in Baltimore County. The company now is operated by his son, William C. Langston of Parkville.


During World War II, Mr. Langston befriended thousands of British merchant seamen who came to Baltimore. He and his wife organized a British seamen's club.

In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II made Mr. Langston a member of the Order of the British Empire for helping the British merchant seamen here and for establishing an area at Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn for those who died of their war wounds.

Mr. Langston's cremated remains will be buried in that section of the cemetery.

His funeral was held Saturday.

Mrs. Langston died in 1991. Other survivors include a daughter, Rosalie Tuttle Fowler of Pasadena; nine grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/28/96