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William Sissons '38

Date of birth: November 12, 1914

Date of death: September 3, 1945

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

The Class of 1938's “Little Lucky Bag” (of 1948) says “Died 3 Sept. 1945. USS DOBBIN. Asiatic area. Abdominal operation.” 1954 class directory says “Died 3 September 1945 as a result of injuries sustained in a fall while serving aboard USS DOBBIN in the Asiatic area.” On the other hand, entries for the war diary of USS Conner:

29 August 1945
Anchored as before. (ed. this at Subic Bay, Luzon PI) 0120 Lieut-Comdr. William A Sissons, Commanding Officer, while disembarking from LCVP alongside, missed his footing and fell across the gunwale of LCVP suffering possible internal injuries in the abdominal region. 0500 Lieut-Comdr. Sissons transferred to LST 464 for treatment. (ed. LST 464 was a medical evacuation vessel, a small floating hospital for immediate care of wounded and injured, a Navy floating version of an Army MASH.)

30 August 1945
Anchored as before. Lit off #2 boiler. 0940 Underway to receive fuel. 1100 Returned to former berth (166). Lieut, Robert O Austin USNR assumed command of this vessel as it was necessary for Lieut-Comdr. Sissons to remain at Subic Bay for a required medical attention. 1353 Underway from Berth 166 Subic Bay, proceeding in accordance with orders of CTF 74. USS SHIELDS, USS HART, USS METCALF, USS CONNER in column formation enroute Okinawa. OTC in USS SHIELDS.

The entry on Find A Grave about William's loss "during a typhoon" is incorrect.

He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Marie Ball.

Wartime Service

William was commanding officer of USS Conner (DD 582) from February 18, 1945 - August 29, 1945. He took command in Puget Sound Navy Yard while the ship was undergoing overhaul.

From Wikipedia's history for the time of his command:

Returning to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, 16 May 1945, Conner sailed 6 June to guard minesweepers and underwater demolition teams at work in Brunei Bay, Borneo, in preparation for invasion. Conner joined in bombarding Brunei, and provided pinpoint gunfire support on call from the invading Australian troops from 10 to 17 June. From 1 to 9 July, she gave the same service in the invasion of Balikpapan. Returning to the Philippines 17 July, she joined Charrette for a patrol in the Netherlands East Indies. On 2 August they sighted a Japanese hospital ship Tachibana Maru, which they stopped for inspection. Discovering contraband and a large number of troops on board, they took the ship prize, and escorted her into Morotai 6 August.

A week later Conner sailed for Okinawa, and with the war at an end, arrived at Jinsen, Korea, 8 September 1945,

More detail on the boarding and capture of the Japanese troop transport masquerading as a hospital ship is available in this entertaining newspaper report.

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.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Preston

Others at this command:

June 1940

Ensign, USS Preston

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, USS Preston

April 1941

Ensign, USS Preston

Others at this command:

Class of 1938

William 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.