MM1c Clarence James Hamilton,

Unknown Sailor

MM1c Clarence James Hamilton

Clarence James Hamilton was born Aug. 13, 1920 at Etowah in far west North Carolina to Mona Lee Thomas Hamilton, a homemaker, and Charles Spurgeon Hamilton, a farmer.

His mother died at nearby Hendersonville on Sept. 17, 1935 about a month after his 15th birthday. His father and a younger sibling soon moved to Manette, Washington — where a married sister lived — and it seems likely that Clarence James went with them.

He enlisted in the Navy at Seattle, Washington in January 1937 and soon was assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona. Navy records say he was born Aug. 13, 1919, which would have allowed his enlistment at age 17 with parental permission, but not at age 16. North Carolina records confirm the 1920 birth of James Clarence Hamilton to Mona L. Thomas and Spurgeon Hamilton in rural Crab Creek Township 2¼ miles southeast of Etowah.

Mr. Hamilton married a Manette woman, Margaret Marion McAboy, a telephone operator, on June 27, 1941, in Washington during what must have been a brief trip home while the Arizona was anchored for two weeks at San Pedro, California.

The battleship headed for Hawaii on July 1, never to return to the mainland. Mr. Hamilton was a machinist’s mate and petty officer first class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

His younger brother, Charles Jr., served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946.


Sources: North Carolina birth index and death certificate; Census; Washington marriage certificate; U.S. Defense Department; grave marker at Miller-Woodlawn Member Park in Bremerton, Washington; Navy muster roll; The Dept. of Defense and Mr. Hamilton’s marriage license say he was born Aug. 13, 1919. The North Carolina birth index says he was born Aug. 13, 1920. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM