William Marsh was born July 2, 1921, the second son of Vere Preston Marsh and Genevieve Ann DeNoble. He was born in Virginia, St. Louis, Minnesota and entered the U.S. Navy Reserve on June 11, 1942. He attended flight school and Landing Signal Officer (LSO) training and was appointed Ensign on July 10, 1943 before being assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) on March 15, 1944.
In the years after William Marsh died, some people speculated that his real name was William Preston Marsh or William Arthur Marsh or William Jerome Marsh. I did find a court document from 1942 that states he did not have any given middle name. Here is what it said:
June 19, 1942, I, William Marsh, do herby certify that I am one and the same person as William Arthur Marsh, and Bill Marsh, as shown on my supporting credentials. Hereafter, I shall use my full legal name as William Marsh, as shown on my birth certificate in signing all governmental papers. Signed by William Marsh.
William Marsh was appointed Lieutenant (Junior Grade) on October 1, 1944.
The ship was in the Sulu Sea, Philippines when it was hit by a Japanese twin-engine kamikaze on January 4, 1945. The plane crashed into the Ommaney Bay's starboard side, and its bombs penetrated the hull to set fire to the hangar deck. Exploding ordnance and burning aviation fuel irreparably crippled her. She was abandoned and then sunk by the destroyer USS Burns. 93 men, including William Marsh were lost.
There is no known grave for William Marsh, his name is listed on The Tablet of The Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines.
My Sources are from my database, Minnesota 8th District Court, birth, and death certificates and Military Service Records.
Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh