52 Ancestors: Military


I wrote a post here about my great-grandfather Chester Crowe, who served for the United States Army during World War I. He passed some of his records to my grandma, who left them for me, so I am lucky to have to have them.

Both of my grandpas also served the country during World War II. My paternal grandpa served in the U.S. Coast Guard, both in Washington’s Puget Sound and in New York harbor.

My maternal grandpa, however, served in the Merchant Marines. He joined after having to drop out of the college due to the Depression.

William Gordon McCallum
William Gordon McCallum. This photo (in this exact frame) has always been displayed in our home.

My mom had heard stories of his travels throughout the world. We even have some momentos: trunks and dolls from Japan, a doll from India, coins from Egypt.

A doll from India, which is stored away while our home is under construction.

A couple years ago, my mom acquired his service records. It was incredible to see his travels in print.

His records show his service in World War II, entering into active duty on 22 June 1942, and being discharged on 18 April 1945. The records also list his rank and which ship he was on, and any decorations, medals, badges, and citations.

list of ship and ranks
His World War II service records.

There is also a picture and many places with his signature.

William G McCallum
William Gordon McCallum, from his Merchant Marines service record.

The records do not show specifically where he was sent, but do show where he left port and returned, usually for three month periods.

record of entry
Example of William Gordon McCallum’s Record of Entry.

My grandfather remained in the Merchant Marines after the war, until the early 1950’s. Until the 1970’s he kept up with his certifications, and remained in the shipping industry until he retired.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,