MUS2c William Starks Moorhouse

Unknown Sailor

MUS2c William Starks Moorhouse

William Starks Moorhouse and his brother, Robert, were in high school in Erie, Pennsylvania  when they formed a dance band, the Mac Moor orchestra.

Though a year apart in age — William was younger — they both graduated in 1939 from Strong Vincent High School, where they performed with the band and in musical comedies. William also played on the golf team and in the orchestra. He then attended the Erie Conservatory of Music.

William enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 23, 1940, and joined the band of the U.S.S. Arizona as a cornet player. He was a musician and petty officer second class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. All 21 band members died after they rushed to their battle station in the ammunition hold above the forward powder magazines, which exploded when the battleship was bombed, sinking the ship.

He was born Aug. 14, 1922 to Harold Moorhouse, a salesman, and Bonnie Stark Moorhouse, a homemaker. Some sources say he was born in Kansas, others in Missouri. His father was a Marine and his mother a Navy nurse during World War I.

By 1925 the family was living in Wichita, Kansas, but by early 1930 had moved to Erie. The family was still living there in early 1940, but later that year returned to Wichita. He sent his parents a Christmas card on Dec. 1, which they received after his death.


Sources: the Wichita (Kansas) Beacon story and photo; The Daily Republican of Monongahela, Pennsylvania; the Salamanca (New York) Republican; Erie (Pennsylvania) Morning News; 1939 Strong Vincent HIgh School yearbook; Census; Navy muster roll; Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Card; WWI Pennsylvania Veterans Service and Compensation file’ “USS Arizona’s Last Band,” by Molly Kent; 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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