George J. Gleason was born in 1918. The son of George James and Edna C. Gleason, he grew up in Camden NJ. He attended Junior High School No. 1 in Camden, and was a June 1935 graduate of Camden High School in Camden NJ. The Gleason family lived at 529 North 7th Street in Camden, where the elder Gleason worked as a salesman in a department store. George Jr. was the oldest child, coming before brother Edwin A. and sister Margaret E. Gleason. After finishing high school, he attended the Pierce School of Business. Upon graduation George Gleason Jr. took a job with the sheet metal firm owned by William Strandwitz, in Camden.
George Gleason Jr. first went to sea in May of 1942, aboard the SS East Indian as a wiper in the engine room. Also sailing on the East Indian as a wiper was Camden resident Norman David Louderback. The East Indian, under Captain St. Marie carried a crew of 33, an armed guard of 14, and 10 passengers. The East Indian sailed between ports in North America and India, by way of the Cape of Good Hope.
On November 3, 1942, the East Indian was torpedoed by the German submarine U-181, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Lüth, 275 miles south- west of Cape Town, South Africa. For an account of the sinking and the 13 day ordeal of the survivors before there rescue, click here.
The U-181 was destined for a strange end. While undergoing repairs at Singapore when Germany surrendered, U-181 was taken over by the Japanese Navy and became submarine I-501. She was surrendered to the British at Singapore August 15, 1945 and scuttled there February 16, 1946.
George Gleason was survived by his parents, brother, and sister. His death was reported in the January 13, 1943 edition of the Camden Courier-Post.
|Camden High School Yearbook - Purple and Gold - June 1935|
COURIER-POST, CAMDEN N.J., MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 1943
SOUTH JERSEY MEN MISSING IN SINKINGS
Camden men and three from South Jersey are among 21 in the state
reported missing and believed lost between November 22 and December 21,
it was announced yesterday by the Merchant Marine.
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