Unknown Sailor

CCSTDA Robert Edward Duke

Robert Edward Duke was on his own by the time he was 17.

He was born Dec. 16, 1901, in Warren County, North Carolina, to Lillian Fleming Duke, a homemaker, and George Duke, a farmer.

The mother died in February 1904, leaving her husband with three young children. The father remarried the next year. He died in November 1915, leaving behind his second wife, Pattie, two sons, and four daughters. Pattie died about 1918.

The 1920 Census says Robert Duke was a roomer at a home in the nearby north central town of Warrenton and worked as a spooler at a cotton mill. Two of his younger half sisters lived at Baptist orphanage.

Mr. Duke left Warrenton, population 1,147, in August 1935 to enlist in the Navy. He was a commissary steward and chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

He was survived by his widow, Nellie, who lived in Southern California.


Sources: The Warren Record of Warrenton, North Carolina; the Norlina (North Carolina) Headlight; the Roanoke Rapids (North Carolina) Herald; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Census; grave markers; Navy muster rolls; Department of Defense. 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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