C. DUFFIN was born on June 15, 1909 in Culpepper, Virginia to
Jeremiah and Emma Duffin. His father was a blacksmith by trade
and apparently brought Willard and his mother to Camden during
World War I, as he was employed at one of Camden's shipyards in
January of 1920 when the Census was enumerated. The Duffins were
then living in a boardinghouse at 576 Mickle
Street operated by a Mary Jones. The family appears to have
remained in the area, but the do not appear in Camden City
Directories in 1924, 1927, or 1929.
some point in the latter half of the 1920s, Willard C. Duffin
enlisted in the United States Navy. When the Census was taken in
April of 1930, Willard C. Duffin was serving with the rank of
Seaman First Class, assigned to the USS Mahan.
USS Mahan, originally designated DD-102, was a Wickes-class
destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I and later
designated, DM-7, in the years following. She was named in honor
of Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan.
was laid down on May 4, 1918 by the Fore River Shipyard, Quincy,
Massachusetts; launched August 4, 1918; sponsored by Miss Ellen
K. Mahan, niece of Rear Admiral Mahan; and commissioned October
24, 1918, Lieutenant Commander F. P. Conger in command.
shakedown, Mahan operated off Cuba until May 1919 when
she steamed to the Azores to become one of the guide ships for
the transatlantic flights of Navy flying boats NC-1, NC-3, and
NC-4. Returning to Boston by way of Brest, France, on June 21, Mahan
was converted to a light minelayer and was redesignated DM-7,
July 17, 1920.
the exception of a cruise to Pearl Harbor for maneuvers early in
1925, Mahan operated along the east coast, in the
Caribbean and off the Panama Canal Zone for the next 10 years,
During this time she participated in fleet training exercises;
patrolled courses for international races; e.g., the
International Six Meter Sailing Races of 1922 and 1927; assisted
in salvage operations for submarines S-51 (September 1925, off
Block Island and S-4 (periodically from December 17, 1927
through mid-March 1928, off Provincetown, Massachusetts); and
conducted reserve training cruises in the Caribbean, 1928 to
September 1929. Throughout the decade, in addition to her
regular duties, she served as an experimental ship, testing new
equipment for the Navy's future use.
September 20, 1929, she entered Philadelphia Navy Yard, where
she decommissioned May 1, 1930. Struck from the Navy Register
October 22, she was sold for scrap January 17, 1931 to the
Boston Iron & Metal Company of Baltimore, Maryland.
completing his term of service with the United States Navy,
Willard C. Duffin returned to Camden, New Jersey.
C. Duffin was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on April
15, 1938. Assigned to Engine
Company 9 at North
27th Street and Federal
Street in East
Camden, he reported for duty the next day. He served with Engine
Company 9 until March 31, 1946 when he was given duty with Ladder
Company 3, quartered in the same building. Willard C. Duffin
remained at the East
Camden firehouse until December 31, 1949.
1947 Camden City Directory shows Willard C. and Margaret Duffin
living at 25 Terrace Avenue in East
Camden, and the family
was still at that location in the fall of 1956.
January 1, 1950 Willard C. Duffin began a term of service with Engine
Company 11 on North
27th Street in Cramer
Hill. He was promoted to Captain on May 26, 1954 and
returned to Ladder
Company 3. July 1, 1955 saw another transfer, when Captain
Duffin was sent to Ladder
Company 2 in South Camden. He finished his career with this
unit, retiring on a disability pension on August 1, 1961.
the mid-1950s the Duffin family became involved in a business
known as American Welding Services, based at 2640 Harrison
Avenue in Cramer
Hill. This business however, was gone by the fall of 1959,
as it is not listed in that year's New Jersey Bell Telephone
C. Duffin had moved to 3254 Floyd Walk in Fairview by the fall
on 1959. He later moved to Bellmawr, New Jersey. He passed away
on October 22, 1988.