Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Heart Saturday AND......shipmates

The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your son Francis Kirwin Seeley, ship's cook first class, U.S. Navy, is missing following action in performance of his duty and in the service of his country. The department appreciates your great anxiety, but details not now available and delay in receipt thereof must necessarily be expected. There has been no casualty report concerning your other son, Lewis Everett, ship's cook first class, U.S. Navy.

Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs,
Chief of Naval Peronnel
Arlington, VA 4:14 pm

This was the telegram sent to my Great Granmother Seeley (my Dad's grandmother) in 1943. Later she would learn that her son Francis "Bob" Seeley was dead.

My Great Uncle Lewis, the surviving brother, wrote this book regarding the sinking of his ship and the passing of his brother. It is such a great book and easy to read. (available here at I love that he was brave enough to face his sorrows in retelling the story of these brave men. I will read it again this weekend and think of not only these men, but all of the American soldiers who have died fighting for our country.

On September 11, 1943, Lewis E. Seeley and his brother Bob, were serving their country aboard the destroyer USS Rowan, DD 405. Shortly after one in the morning, the ship was torpedoed by German e-boats, and sank in forty seconds. Two hundred and four men died almost instantly. Bob was among them. Wracked by grief and guilt, Lewis spent the next four decades trying to forget that night. But eventually, he found himself unable to ignore or resist the insistent nightmares of that night. He realized that to put the ghosts to rest, he would have to seek out the company of his shipmates to help him remember.


The Limon's said...

WOW!!!! What an amazing story. Your great grandma and uncle went through so much. I'm going to have to get the book.

Dodson Family said...

Paula - that is amazing...I didn't know any of this!! I want to read that!

Miller Family said...

This is so neat. What a great heritage to have and to share with your kids. Thanks for sharing- sounds like a good summer read.