S1c Charles Leroy Thompson

Unknown Sailor

S1c Charles Leroy Thompson

Charles Leroy Thompson had just turned 11 when he and his two sisters and a brother were orphaned.

He lived for an uncertain time at the Illinois Soldiers & Sailors Children’s School in Normal, Illinois, an orphanage opened after the Civil War for children of veterans.

Mr. Thompson joined the Navy on Oct. 8, 1940, and was a seaman first class when he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. It isn’t clear whether he died that day or on Dec. 9. His death was recorded on the hospital ship the U.S.S. Solace.

He was born Feb. 14, 1920 to Roy Thompson and Rose Vanous Thompson. His father died in 1928 and his mother in 1931 after two years of poor health.

He had two sisters and a younger brother, Raymond, who served in the Army in Europe in World War II. Raymond survived the war but died in 1957 at the age of 33.

Raymond Thompson and their mother are buried at a cemetery in Belleville, Kansas. There’s also a cenotaph there for Charles Leroy. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.


Sources: the Journal Gazette of Mattoon, Illinois; the Belleville (Kansas) Telescope; Illinois death record; Headstone Application for Military Veterans; Census; Navy muster roll. 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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