From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

David Collins '44

Date of birth: January 28, 1921

Date of death: December 18, 1944

Age: 23

Lucky Bag

From the 1944 Lucky Bag:


David was lost when USS Spence (DD 512) capsized and sank in Typhoon Cobra on December 18, 1944. Three hundred seventeen men were lost from Spence; only 24 of her officers and crew survived.

His parents were listed as next of kin.

From Find A Grave:

"Son of Former Local Resident Lost on Spence - Lieut (jg) D H Collins Missing After Destroyer Founders in Typhoon - Lieut (jg) David Harrison Collins, USN, who was assigned to the USS Spence as gunnery officer, one of the three destroyers recently lost in the typhoon in the Pacific, has been reported missing as a result of that storm. His parents, Mr and Mrs B L Collins, former Titusville residents, now at 2109 Roanoke Ave, Newport News, Va, received the War Department telegram recently. The message read: 'The Navy department deeply regrets to inform you that your son, Lieut (jg) David H Collins, is missing while in the service of his country. As you undoubtedly know, the ship to which he was attached was lost in the recent typhoon in the Pacific area. The Navy department deeply regrets the delay in notification, but casualty list has just been received. When further information is received, it will be forwarded to you.' Lieut Collins was graduated last Dec 1 from an officers' gunnery and torpedo school in Honolulu and his parents were informed in his last letter that he was en route to rejoin his ship. He had been attached to the Spence during the entire period of his service, being assigned to her following his graduation from the U S Naval Academy in June, 1943. The seaman's mother is a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs S S Harrison of Titusville, and her brother, M T Harrison, lives at Spartansburg." Titusville, PA, Herald, Jan 25, 1945, p.3

The men and ships involved in Typhoon Cobra are extensively chronicled in "Down to the Sea: An Epic Story of Naval Disaster and Heroism in World War II" by Bruce Henderson.

Class of 1944

David is one of 66 members of the Class of 1944 on Virtual Memorial Hall.