S1c William Alfred Shannon

Unknown Sailor

S1c William Alfred Shannon

William Alfred Shannon was born Oct. 17, 1921 on a farm south of Red Cloud in central  Nebraska near the Kansas border to William Bacon Shannon and Ruth Pegg Shannon.

He graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1939, but by the time of the April 1940 Census the family, which included five sons still at home, lived in Jerome, Idaho 10 miles north of Twin Falls. William Alfred and his father were  farm hands — each earning $280 the previous year for 20 weeks of work.

William Alfred left Idaho the next month to enlist in the Navy — following the path of his older brother, Charles, who joined in 1936. After the June 1941 grounding of the S.S. Iowan, a cargo ship, off Government Point west of Santa Barbara, California, Seaman Shannon was a member of the Arizona party that was able to refloat the ship.

Tragedy first struck the family in April 1941, when their father killed himself with a rifle, leaving his widow with four sons at home ages 3 through 14.

Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, William Alfred, a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona, was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Fifteen months later, mother Ruth Pegg Shannon died in Kansas.

At least five Shannon sons left a legacy of Navy service from World War II and Korea and into the mid 1950s.

Sources: Twin Falls (Idaho) Evening Times; the Weekly Advertiser of Red Cloud, Nebraska; Navy muster rolls; grave markers; Idaho death certificate; Census. 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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