SIGNALMAN FIRST CLASS ROBERT HANLEY was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hanley. The Hanley's lived at 409 Haakon Road in Brooklawn NJ. Robert Hanley was a student at Gloucester High School in Gloucester City NJ before enlisting in the United States Navy at the age of 17. In April of 1943 he was selected to become one of the crew of the new escort carrier USS Liscombe Bay CVE-56.
The Liscombe Bay had an interesting history. On December 9, 1943, the keel was laid for this carrier, the second built at Vancouver WA. She was launched on April 19 as the HMS Ameer and was intended to become a part of the British fleet. Her sponsor was Mrs. Benjamin Morrell, wife of Admiral Morrell, chief of the Bureau of Stocks and Yards. Before delivery, however, the Ameer was turned over to the U. S. Navy and her name changed to the USS Liscombe Bay.
in naval secrecy are details of the last hours of the USS Liscome Bay.
The Liscombe Bay was
torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-175 off of Makin Island in the
Gilbert Islands on November 24, 1943. The Liscombe Bay was taking
part in Operation Galvanic, the seizure of Makin and Tarawa Atolls in
the Gilbert Islands. Liscome Bay's aircraft supported operations
ashore between 20-23 November 1943. It was in the dark
hours before dawn when her planes were warming up to take off on a
scouting mission on November 24, 1943. At 5:10 AM, while cruising
near Butaritari Island, a single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175
struck the escort carrier aft of the machinery space, near
the stern. The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later. Then
followed other explosions - a terrific blast of the bomb storage
quarters which blew an elevator loose and caused a large fire. Other
explosions followed as the fire reached ammunition storage. With her
hangar decks ablaze, the fantail gone, and a portion of the after
starboard side blown away, the once mighty carrier turned in the water
and sank by, the stern, within minutes.
Assigned to the newly
constructed USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) in the spring of 1943,
Hanley was on board Listed as missing following the loss of that
escort carrier, Robert Hanley was officially presumed dead 25 November
1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay. Only 272
Sailors survived the sinking of Liscome Bay, while 646 died.
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