From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Harry Bolles '23

Date of birth: July 3, 1899

Date of death: July 18, 1943

Age: 44

Lucky Bag

From the 1923 Lucky Bag:


1923 Bolles 1.jpg

Harry was lost on July 18, 1943 when the PBY-5A Catalina patrol plane he was aboard crashed into Mount Moffett, near Adak, Alaska. Most of the crew was a part of the Coast Guard; it was performing coast and island surveying. (More about the aircraft and the crash are available here.)

His wife was listed as next of kin. He was also survived by four brothers and sisters.

Harry is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Legion of Merit

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Legion of Merit (Posthumously) to Commander (CEC) Harry A. Bolles (NSN: 0-57936), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States. On 18 March 1942, Commander Bolles became the Executive Officer of the Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Allen, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, which had just previously been designated as the training center for the newly organized U.S. Naval Construction Battalions. The function of the Naval Construction Training Center was to organize, condition, and train officers and men, most of whom were just entering the Navy, to form Construction Battalions for assignment to advance base construction projects. The work accomplished on this tremendous task is indicated by the fact that during the first year of existence, there were trained and sent overseas 48 Battalions, approximately 49,000 men, and that an additional 44 Battalions, approximately 49,000 men, were trained and ready for embarkation or in the various stages of training. In this tremendous task of organizing and training the first Construction Battalions, Commander Bolles was one of the major driving forces. His initiative, forward thinking, perseverance in the face of many difficulties, devotion to duty, and his ability to organize and lead men, entitles him to a good share of the credit for this great accomplishment. On 27 October 1942, Commander Bolles was relieved as Executive Officer at Camp Allen and designated as Training and Inspection Officer of the Construction Battalions. Commander Bolles was the first officer to fill this important position and was acting in that capacity, inspection Construction Battalion activities in Alaska, when killed in a plane crash on 18 July 1943. As Training and Inspection Officer of the Construction Battalions, reporting to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Commander Bolles maintained, as far as possible, personal contact with Construction Battalion activities now actively engaged in advance base construction the world over, as well as the tremendous training program for new battalions now under way in the United States. The Chief of the Bureau has received many enthusiastic expressions of commendation from high-ranking officers, afloat and ashore, in regard to the Navy's Construction Battalions. In view of the outstanding accomplishments of these Construction Battalions, the Chief of the Bureau is of the opinion that the officer who is in a large way responsible for these accomplishments, which would not have been possible without the thorough and efficient training program which they have been given, should be appropriately recognized.

Service: Navy
Rank: Commander

Class of 1923

Harry is one of 25 members of the Class of 1923 on Virtual Memorial Hall.