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Harry Clephane

Harry Clifford Clephane

Harry Clifford Clephane was born on July 8, 1920 in his parent's home. Harry was the fifth of six children of Clarence and Minnie Clephane of Helmsburg, Indiana.  Harry went to school and worked the farm when he was a boy. Harry did well in school and started playing the guitar when he was a teenager. He played and sang country music.

Mr. Clephane entered the United States Navy in February 1940. He did basic at Great Lakes Training Center in Ill, his first ship was the USS Vega. He was then transferred to the USS Pennsylvania. Lucky for Harry he was transferred to the USS Marblehead before December 7, 1941 because the Pennsylvania was hard hit by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and the executive office and 14 members of the crew in the command section where killed, where Harry the signalman could have been where killed also.

Mr. Clephane was on the USS Marblehead for the battle of Makassar Strait. He survived the battle but was wounded during action from the explosions and fires. He told how he was burned on his face and hands while he and others pulled men from the burning areas of the ship. He said, "When the torpedo hit the ship she rose out of the water and we where all thrown into the air and we slammed back down on the deck. Fire was everywhere."

Mr. Clephane told his family about when they got the ship to Java and Dr. Wassell went around directing their treatment. He told about how one of the men who was badly burned on both hands and his upper body was trying to do something and yelled to a Dutch Officer and said, "Hey high pockets give me a hand over here." Dad thought that was funny. After the ship was fixed Harry said he got back on board and they limped back to the US. It was a long and dangerous trip.

After their return to New York harbor Mr. Clephane was transferred to the USS PC-1232.  On July 5, 1945, just three days before his 25th birthday, Mr. Clephane was given an Honorable Discharge from the US Navy at Fort Wadsworth, NY.

Mr. Clephane met his wife Helen Horan at a skating rink in New York. They married and moved to Indiana where they lived and raised six children.  Helen was sick with heart trouble and other medical problems and died, after a 10 year battle with the sickness, on Oct 19, 1969.

Mr. Clephane had numerous grandchildren from his two daughters, June and Rose, and his four sons, Michael, Thomas, Phillip and Daniel. Harry loved to take his grandchildren for rides on his lawn tractor or he would play the guitar and sing to them like he had his children.   All of Mr. Clephane's sons where in the military: Michael and Phillip in the Army, Thomas in the Air Force and Daniel in the Navy.

Mr. Clephane died of an aneurism on his aorta on Jan 20, 1990 just days after received quadruple bypass surgery. He was 69. His time on the USS Marblehead and years as a caring father will never be forgotten.

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