Unknown Sailor

ENS Robert Sinclair Booth

Robert Sinclair Booth Jr. “always loved the sea,” his mother said after she learned of his death at Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Booth was an ensign in the engineering division on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack, Dec. 7, 1941.

He planned to become an electrical engineer and studied at the University of Maryland for three years. He then worked briefly at the Western Electric Co. In the spring of 1936 he returned to the United States from France, where he had been a utility man on commercial ships that traveled to Europe, Asia, and Africa. He joined the Naval Reserve in the summer of 1940 and was commissioned late that fall.

After his death a destroyer escort, the U.S.S. Booth (DE170), was built and named in his honor. It served mostly in the Mediterranean during World War II.

Mr. Booth was born Jan. 25, 1915, in Hickory, North Carolina, to Robert Sinclair Booth Sr., then a locomotive inspector, and Annie Link Booth, a homemaker.

The family soon moved to Washington, D.C., where the son graduated from Central High in 1932. He was a first lieutenant in the Corps of Cadets, captain of the rifle team, treasurer of the student council, and a member of the National Honor Society. At the University of Maryland he was a member of Theta Chi fraternity and a lieutenant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

His mother said her only child described his year aboard the Arizona as the happiest of his life.

Sources: Photo from the book “The Rattle of Theta Chi”; the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia; North Carolina birth index; Census; Navy muster roll; 1932 Central High yearbook; 1935 University of Maryland yearbook; Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificate. Central High yearbook photo. 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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