COX Henry John Lanouette


COX Henry John Lanouette

During World War II the Meriden Daily Journal midway between New Haven and Hartford, Connecticut published a column about area military men called “Speaking With The Boys.”

One of the early articles was about sailor Henry Lanouette, “a typical Wallingford youngster who liked to play baseball and basketball. … He didn’t excel in either of the sports, but he liked to spend his time in good, clean fun and those were his favorite pastimes.”

The column, from May 1942, was phrased in the past tense because Mr. Lanouette was the first man from Wallingford about 5 miles to the south to die in World War II. He was a coxswain 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. Lanouette was born June 28, 1919 at Wallingford. His mother, Edda Anthony Lanouette, was a  homemaker and his father, also named Henry, was a driver for the fire department. The couple also had three daughters.

The son served for a year in the mid-1930s in Oregon with the Civilian Conservations Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program, and then returned home. He enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 19, 1937, and went aboard the battleship Arizona in March 1938.

In August 1939 his father worked his normal Saturday night shift at the firehouse but fell ill and died the next day. “Lanny,” as shipmates called the son, returned to Connecticut for the funeral.

In a letter home he described the Navy as “the finest thing that happened to me.”

His mother, meanwhile, experienced yet more loss when a daughter, 29, died in August 1942. Mrs. Lanouette was about 61 when she died in 1947.


Sources: the Meriden column was written by George Groobert, who wrote for the paper for 40-plus years. Other sources are: the Meriden (Connecticut) Record; Census; Defense Department; Navy muster rolls. Editor’s note: It’s uncertain where the son was a “junior.” His father’s middle name was Alexander, and some sources say that was also the son’s middle name. Navy records say his middle name was John. 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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