The mother of Phillip Zane Darch used to throw a wreath on the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts every Memorial Day in memory of her son.
Mr. Darch was a seaman 1st class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
He was born in Watertown on Oct. 21, 1921, the son of Lucy Myrtle Robinson Darch and Phillip James Darch. She was born in Maine and her husband in Adelaide, South Australia. The elder Darch also served as a Navy seaman, according to their 1918 marriage certificate. In civilian life, he was a plasterer and later a mason.
Phillip Zane was the only son among six children.
He attended Watertown High School for two years and then enlisted in the Navy on April 23, 1940.
A memorial service was held for him in January 1942 at St. John’s Methodist Church.
In 1943 his mother wrote a short article for the Boston Traveler newspaper that said, in part, “Though I am told there will be many material things — new inventions and gadgets and devices — to increase our comfort and happiness after the war, those mean far less to me than the peace itself. If any single development does interest me, however, it is air travel, for it may help me to realize my one ambition — to go to Pearl Harbor.”
She died in 1969. It could not be determined whether she ever visited Pearl Harbor, where her son’s body remains on the sunken battleship.
The town named Philip Darch Road in his honor. The road’s spelling of his first name is most likely wrong. Two records signed by his father spell the elder man’s name as Phillip. In Navy records, the son’s name is also spelled Phillip.
Sources: The Boston Globe; the Boston Traveler; Watertown wickedlocal.com; “Philip Zane Darch: Seaman 1st Class, Selfless Hero,” by Cristopher Patvakanian; marriage certificate; naturalization records; Census; Massachusetts birth index; Navy muster roll. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.