Y3c Alva Dowding Walton


Y3c Alva Dowding Walton

Two days after Alva Dowding Walton was selected as a cheerleader at Granite HIgh School in Salt Lake City, he and seven others headed to the first football game of 1939.

In route to Fillmore — a couple of hours away — they stopped to repair a tire on their car, then got back on the road. Within minutes, the tire blew. The car turned over five times and all but the driver were ejected.

Some passengers suffered severe lacerations, but Mr. Walton had only minor cuts and bruises. The group missed the game, which their school won.

Mr. Walton, who was also active in speech and other school clubs, graduated on May 17, 1940. He enlisted in the Navy on the 31st.

He was a yeoman and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Walton was born March 18, 1922 in Salt Lake to Ephraim Walton and Henrietta Dowding Walton. The boy was eight when his father fell suddenly ill and died at Utah Fire Clay Co., where he was a brick-yard laborer.

A few weeks before his death, Alva Walton wrote to his mother describing his love of the Navy. He also included a long poem that he said “every sailor in the Navy, except me, claims to have written.” The final stanza said:

“So when you meet a sailor boy, I’d smile, if I were you.
“No better men are made by God than boys in Navy blue.”


Sources: The Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune; the Salt Lake Telegram; Utah military service card; Utah death certificate; Census; Navy muster roll; 1940 Granite High School yearbook. Yearbook photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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