James Raymond Aplin was born in North Andover, Massachusetts on April 23, 1904, about a year after his mother, Charlotte Annie, a native of Ireland, crossed the Atlantic from England with his sister and then infant brother.
His father, George, arrived earlier from England, but the date isn’t clear.
James was working by the time he was 15. The 1930 Census identified him as a farm helper. His father and brother were employed at a machine manufacturer and his sister at a woolen mill. His mother was a homemaker.
James enlisted in the Navy in 1923. He had risen to the rating of watertender and chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His Navy job paid well by the standards of Depression-era America. He reported $1,200 in income in 1939, while his wife Mary, a waitress he married in Los Angeles in 1934, earned $390. Their earnings totaled the 2018 equivalent of about $28,000.
Mr. Aplin’s elderly parents had moved to San Diego and were living with James and Mary when the 1940 Census was conducted. George died at age 80 just three months after his son was killed.
By the time her husband was killed, Mary Aplin was working as a clerk at Consolidated Aircraft Co., a huge manufacturer of flying boats and bombers.
A baseball field, Aplin Park, in North Andover is named in honor of James Aplin.