From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Arthur Yeates, Jr. '38

Date of birth: March 20, 1915

Date of death: July 6, 1943

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


Arthur's Purple Heart Medal

Arthur was lost when USS Helena (CL 50) was sunk on July 6, 1943 by multiple torpedoes in the Battle of Kula Gulf.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Arthur graduated in 1933 from the Matthew Fontaine Maury High School. He entered the Naval Academy in 1934 as a member of the fourth class of midshipmen to do so. He had been in the U.S. Naval Reserve, fleet division 5, and was appointed as a result of an earlier competitive examination.

His father was chief mail clerk for the railway in February 1940 and attended the “annual jollification and banquet” of the Richmond branch of the Railway Mail Association. Arthur was at the family residence for the April 1940 census along with three lodgers who were chief warrant officers for the U.S. Navy.

From the Times Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia in 1938:

Norfolk Boy Led Navy Crew in Record Win

Ensign Arthur Bernard Yeates, Jr., stalwart-soft-spoken captain of the Navy Poughkeepsie crew, realized a boyhood dream when he and his oarsmen swept across the finish line to a victory that brought national rowing supremacy back to the East.

When he entered the Naval Academy in 1934 fresh from the Maury High School, Norfolk, Va., he harbored the ambition to make and captain a Navy crew.

He reported to Charles S. (Buck) Walsh, Navy coach, when the first call came during his freshmen year and made the plebe crew. The next year he won a seat in the varsity and in his junior year he attained his ambition, being the first junior classman to captain the crew. He was re-elected this season and led his oarsmen through a hard season to the victorious climax at Poughkeepsie.

As he spends his leave waiting to report to the cruiser Honolulu, he leaves behind him at the academy an impressive record to spur future oarsmen. In his four years of rowing the boats in which he was seated defeated 21 crews and lost to two in four regular seasons.

Rowing the No. 3, 4 and 5 oar in the plebe crew Yeates participated in victories over the Columbia, Cornell, Pennsylvania and Harvard freshmen. At Poughkeepsie that season the Plebe crew finished behind Washington and California.

In his sophomore year – his first on the varsity – he saw the Navy defeated by Columbia in the opening race, but went on to aid in a victorious season with the Navy shell leading Cornell, Princeton, Syracuse and taking the Adams Cup by defeating Pennsylvania, Harvard and M. I. T. Again Navy finished behind Washington and California at Poughkeepsie and the same year came in third in the Olympic finals.

The first crew he captained in 1937 went through a victorious season, defeating Columbia, Princeton, Syracuse, Cornell and winning the Adams Cup by defeating Harvard and Pennsylvania. But he watched the stalwart Washington oarsmen slip by him to defeat Navy at Poughkeepsie.

This year his crew was defeated only by Harvard in the Adams Cup race, a defeat offset by the Poughkeepsie victory. He led his men to victory over Pennsylvania, Cornell, Syracuse, Columbia and Princeton.

Yeates is the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Yeates of Norfolk, Va. He entered the academy through competitive examination from the Navy reserve. During his academic career he received his plebe numerals in crew and football and wears three “Ns” won in crew.

His parents were listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Virginia.

Related Articles

Elmer Buerkle '25, John Mooney, Jr. '35, and Joseph Griffin '43 were also lost when Helena was sunk. Charles Cecil '16, the ship's commanding officer, survived only to be lost later in the war.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1938

Ensign, USS Honolulu

Others at this command:

January 1939

Ensign, USS Honolulu

Others at this command:

October 1939

Ensign, USS Dent

June 1940

Ensign, USS Dent

November 1940

Ensign, USS Dent

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, USS Dent

Others at this command:

Class of 1938

Arthur is one of 72 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.