HENRY R. HAMNER, LT, USN

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Henry Hamner '43

Date of birth: March 13, 1922

Date of death: April 6, 1945

Age: 23

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:

1943 Hamner LB.jpg

HENRY RAWLINS HAMNER

Lynchburg, Virginia

H. R. (for Pete) was born—obviously if you just listened to him a minute—down in "Ole Virginny." Naturally, then, to him, yankee was a contraction not a word. He played a mean game of tennis, and plowed away at the swimming squad all three years of his career. According to his own statement, he has had more roommates than anyone else in the regiment, seven in all, and everyone of them would swear by Pete who was a swell bridge player and true committee member. All of Pete's classmates, and too many of their girl friends, grew to love his infectious grin and his constant good humor—except before breakfast.


The Class of 1943 was graduated in June 1942 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

1943 Hamner LB.jpg

HENRY RAWLINS HAMNER

Lynchburg, Virginia

H. R. (for Pete) was born—obviously if you just listened to him a minute—down in "Ole Virginny." Naturally, then, to him, yankee was a contraction not a word. He played a mean game of tennis, and plowed away at the swimming squad all three years of his career. According to his own statement, he has had more roommates than anyone else in the regiment, seven in all, and everyone of them would swear by Pete who was a swell bridge player and true committee member. All of Pete's classmates, and too many of their girl friends, grew to love his infectious grin and his constant good humor—except before breakfast.


The Class of 1943 was graduated in June 1942 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

Loss

Henry was lost on April 6, 1945 when USS Howorth (DD 592) was severely damaged by a kamikaze attack off the coast of Okinawa. Six other officers and men were killed.

Other Information

From Wikipedia's entry:

Henry Rawlings Hamner was born 13 March 1922 in London, England. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Virginia, he graduated and gained his commission in June 1942. Hamner served to fit out and commission several new ships during the war, in addition to serving in the 12th Naval District and at Norfolk, Va. He was appointed lieutenant in July 1944.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Henry graduated from Lynchburg’s Glass High school in 1939. “Pete” National Honor Society; Honor League; Varsity Club; Track, ’37, Manager, ’38; Football, ’37; Senior Council; Pres., Hi-Y Club, ’39; Junior Class Pres.; Senior Class Pres.; A. A.; Spanish Club.

On November 2, 1942, he married Elsie McDowell Jackson at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg.

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Pete was born in London, England, March 13, 1922. He was appointed to the Naval Academy from Virginia in June 1939 and reported on 16 June 1939. After graduation he had temporary duty as instructor at the Naval Training School, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts from June until August 1942, when he was ordered to Service Force, Atlantic Subordinate Command, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, for temporary duty under instruction.

In June 1943, Pete was ordered to the Bethlehem Steel Company, Mariner’s Harbor, New York, for duty in connection with fitting out the destroyer USS DALY and served on board her from her commissioning. In February 1944 he was ordered to duty aboard the destroyer HOWORTH.

Pete died on April 6, 1945 in the Asiatic Area as a result of enemy action.

He was entitled to the posthumous award of the Purple Heart Medal, and he was also entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp and the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal. He was survived by his wife Elsie McDowell and their son Peter Clay who lived at 807 Pershing Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia at Pete's death.

A destroyer, the USS HAMNER (DD-718) has been named in his honor. Elsie served as sponsor when the vessel named in honor of her husband was launched at the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newark, New Jersey.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery; his wife was listed as next of kin.

Photographs

Namesake

In November 1945, the destroyer USS Hamner (DD 718) was named in his honor.

Memorial

Henry's name, along with those of his shipmates lost in the attack, are on the Howorth memorial plaque at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Related Articles

Horace Bayless ’45 was also lost in this attack.


Class of 1943

Henry is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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