BKR1c Harold Arthur Schrank

Unknown Sailor

BKR1c Harold Arthur Schrank

“My enlistment will terminate November 13, and I’m catching the first boat out for home and will try to reach there by Christmas,” Harold Arthur Schrank wrote to his mother in the fall of 1941.

Schrank, a baker and petty officer first class on the U.S.S. Arizona, had good reason to want to go home to Texas as soon as his six-year Navy enlistment ended. He had a wife, Jewel Hyde Schrank, and the three-month-old daughter he had never met.

But there was no happy homecoming. Schrank was still on the Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, and died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

It isn’t clear why Mr. Schrank didn’t get off the ship when his enlistment was up, but the Arizona was scheduled to leave Hawaii on Dec. 13 for its home port in California. Perhaps the Navy was waiting until the return to the mainland to release him.

Mr. Schrank was born Jan. 10, 1917 in or near tiny Aleman, Texas 95 miles south-southwest of Fort Worth to Arthur Paul Schrank, operator of a dry goods store and later a bookkeeper for a flour mill, and Emma Marie Kelm Schrank, a homemaker. He was the second son and followed by a daughter.

The family attended St. John Lutheran Church in nearby Hamilton, population 2,000 and the county seat. He graduated from Hamilton High School about 1934. In February 1942 he was honored there at a memorial service.

It’s not clear when he married, but his wife lived in Temple about 60 miles southeast of Hamilton. Their daughter Jo Lynda was born Sept. 2, 1941.

Sources: The Meridian (Texas) Tribune; Texas birth record; Census; St. John Lutheran Church; 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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