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November 13, 2009

Oroville Mercury July 8, 1944
3 Cannon Boys Found Each Other After Sinking Of Their Navy Ship
“We were out looking for trouble and we got it—but so did the enemy.” That’s what the three Cannon brother’s survivors of the Escort Carrier Block Island, say about the sinking of the “baby flat top,” during May, in the Atlantic. Home on a 30-day furlough after 15 months’ sea duty, each of the three navy men wear campaign ribbons for American, European and Asiatic theaters of war. Each also wears five stars, four bronze stars signifying combat and a silver star for action on a sinking ship. The brothers are: Gordon, 21, aviation machinist’s mate 3/c, Jack, 22, seaman 1/c; and Clyde, 20, seaman 1/c. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Cannon of Pine Street. The Block Island was out sub hunting at the time of the action, Gordon related. The ship had a record for knocking-out subs. It did not go down without getting the sub that sank it.

The three brothers were separated when they went into the water as the ship went down. Before being picked up by destroyer escorts, Clyde was on a raft for about an hour and a half. Gordon was forced to hang onto the side of another raft, while Jack spent two hours swimming and hanging on to a raft at intervals before he was rescued. Safe on a destroyer escort, but sick as a result of swallowing a mixture of gasoline, oil and salt water, Gordon was resting when, “along came Jack.” The two brothers were not very worried about Clyde they said, because other men told them they had seen the brother get off all right.

It was a different matter with Clyde. He had heard nothing about his brothers since the action and he was worried. He “worried some” for three days before the three brothers were reunited. Nick Aleck, of Oroville, also a machinist’s mate, 3/c on the carrier, was picked up by the same escort boat that rescued Gordon and Jack. The men were taken to North Africa for several days before they began their trip back to the states. Gordon was the only one of the Cannon brothers who admitted ever being seasick. “Some of the boys got sick,” the brothers said, “but they blamed it on the coffee.”

Oroville Mercury Register, May 1, 1959
The Oroville Of Years Ago 15 Years Ago (1944)
At requests of American Legion Posts of the county the supervisors have agreed to make a budgetary provision in 1944-1945 for employment of a county service officer to assist returning war veterans. The officer, who would be appointed by the supervisors, would help disabled men in obtaining hospitalization and compensation and would cooperate in obtaining employment for the service men, if necessary.

Oroville High School Year book 1944
George Beard, Leslie Bidwell, Howard Gould, Kernick Smith, and Alphie Worthy. …. “They left the peaceful river, The athletic field, the quad, The renowned halls of learning To seek the bloody sod. They gave their merry youth away For country and for God. God rest you, happy gentlemen, who laid your good lives down, Who took the khaki and the gun, Instead of cap and gown, God bring you to a fairer place Than even your Hometown.”
W. M. Letts

Stu’s Notes: Those brave young Cannon brothers did so much for their Country. The family even had another brother in reserve to fight in the Korean War, James E. Cannon Yeoman apprentice USN, served on the Battleship USS New Jersey, fighting off the coast of Korea see my article Jan 12, 2007 on our website.

Does any one know of W. M. Letts? He or she wrote a very moving poem in Honor of those young Oroville High Class of 1944 that “Gave All”. That poem could be of any of Butte Counties High Schools, Chico, Paradise, Durham, Biggs Gridley and Oroville. So many, gave so much from those schools, as did so many through out our Great Country. I think those words should go in Our Memorial somewhere. The words of one of our Brave National Guard Soldiers; The 2668th Transportation Company of the California Army National Guard based in Oroville, Ca. In addition to responding to emergencies such as floods, fires and riots, the local unit fights the Global War on Terrorism and 90% of the unit has deployed overseas at least once , with some doing as many as 3 tours since September 11, 2001. We would like to thank Oroville and the wonderful people who live here and support us. We truly appreciate it.