Unknown Sailor

SM3c George Edward Bromley

The day after George Edward Bromley and Jimmie Bromley were killed at Pearl Harbor, their father, Walter David Bromley, tried to enlist. He did not yet know they were dead.

The Navy rejected Walter because he was 51 and the age limit for enlistment was 50. But when he found out about his sons’ deaths, he applied again and the limit was waived.

“It’s the happiest news of my life,” Bromley told a reporter. He’d been earning $8.25 a day at a Tacoma, Wash., door manufacturing plant, but gave that up to earn $2 a day as a third-class carpenter’s mate. He lived to age 85.

The youngest Bromley son, Walter Jr., age 17, also tried to enlist in the Navy but was rejected because he was color blind. But Walter Jr. was accepted by the Army when he was 20 and became a machine gunner. “The average life span of a machine gunner was only about 45 seconds,” he said later. Walter Jr. was lucky and did survive the war. He lived to age 93.

Their mother, Ruby Middlekauff Bromley, worked as a shipfitter during the war and later as a licensed practical nurse. She lived to age 91.

The family also included two daughters.

Son George, born Feb. 24, 1921, enlisted in 1938. He was a signalman third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed, Dec. 7, 1941. His body was recovered and  he is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

Son Jimmie, born in 1917 or 1918, enlisted on Jan. 8, 1940. He was a seaman 1st class on the Arizona when he was killed. His body was not recovered and remains on the sunken battleship.

Sources: the El Paso (Texas) Herald-Post; the (Phoenix) Arizona Republic, the News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington; The Independent Record of Helena, Montana; family obituaries; Census; grave markers; Navy muster rolls. Naval History and Heritage Command 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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