Unknown Sailor

F1c John T. Allison

Brothers Andrew K. and John T. Allison lived near the border between Tennessee and Missouri before they enlisted in the Navy. Both died on the U.S.S. Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

They were born in Savannah, Tennessee 110 miles east of Memphis — Andrew on Aug. 16, 1915 and John on Nov. 29, 1920. Their father Arthur, a farmer, was born there, too. Their mother, Icy or Icey Bain, was born in the same county.

By early 1930 the family had moved about 75 miles north-northwest to Gibson County and was still there on April 1, 1935. By October 1939 the family had moved some 60 miles west across the Mississippi River to Steele, Missouri and by April 1940 to nearby Holland township, a community of 390, in the boot-heel of southern Missouri. 

Andrew enlisted in the Navy on Feb. 12, 1936. John, or J.T. as he was known, enlisted on Dec. 5, 1939.

In a letter John wrote home five weeks before the attack he said: “…although I denied it to the last, I really hated to come back this time from leave, just had a funny feeling, or maybe not so funny.”

Both held the rank of fireman first class when they were killed.

Their mother received official notice of their death a few hours before the death of her father, John T. Bain, in the early hours of Dec. 26, 1941.

A memorial service for the brothers was held at First Baptist Church in Campbell, Missouri, in February 1942

The Allisons were friends with another man killed on the Arizona — James William Harris. News accounts at the time of their deaths referred to all three as residents of Holland, though the Census said the Harris family lived about five miles away in Cooter, population 466. After the war, a news story on the dedication of the “Allison-Harris Athletic Field” next to the Holland school said the Allisons and Mr. Harris were former students.

Mr. Harris also had a brother at Pearl Harbor. Markus Harris, an apprentice seaman, arrived the afternoon before on a cargo ship, the Vega, bringing 130 tons of explosives from Washington state. He visited his brothers and the Allisons that Saturday night on the Arizona. Markus Harris survived the war.

Sources: The Democrat-Argus of Caruthersville, Missouri; The Savannah (Tennessee) Courier; birth and death records; marriage license; U.S. Department of Defense; Census records; WWII draft registration card; Bonhams auction house; Pearl Harbor Gram, issues 12, 1967. 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