FORD, WILLIAM RICHARD (PHOTO) - Claiborne County, Louisiana | WILLIAM RICHARD (PHOTO) FORD - Louisiana Gravestone Photos

William Richard (photo) FORD

Arlington (Homer) Cemetery
Claiborne County,

January 27, 1919 - November 13, 1942
Lost At Sea

Son of Herbert Smith Ford (1889 - 1960) & Ruth (Meadows) Ford (1895 - 1996)

Thursday, April 29, 1943 - Newspaper Article
Hero to the Last - Shipmates Relate How Homer Man Refused Aid

Lieut. W.R. Ford Apparently Lost When Ship is Sunk in Pacific
"We were firing at a Jap destroyer and hitting it heavily when the gun director was hit by a shel . . . your son was seriously wounded in one or both legs. The crew put tourniquets on his legs and were trying to lower him below when another shell struck and wounded the men who were assisting your son. He told the men to go and leave him."
This tribute to the heroism of Lieut. (j.g.) William R. Ford, 23, was paid by Commander Edward N. Parker of the U.S.S. Cushing which was sunk off Guadalcanal last November, in a letter to Ford's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert S. Ford of Homer.
No Hope for Survival
The handsome, young officer was listed as missing after the battle and five communications received from officers and seaman aboard the Cushing fail to give his parents any real hope for his survival.
Commander Parker added "I know that the knowledge that your son was doing his duty in the service of our country and that he showed fortitude of the highest order will be of some comfort to you."
Lieut. (j.g.) Neil Porter, also on the Cushing, wrote Mr. and Mrs. Ford a more detailed account of the accident to Lieutenant Ford:
"Before abandoning ship I asked one of the men where he was" and this is his story:
Direct Hit Scored on Director.
"We had been firing for just a few minutes when a direct hit from a five or eight-inch shell was made on the director. This knocked Nottingham (in charge of the director's crew) down onto the bridge fatally wounded and left Ford in charge. I looked at him and saw he was badly wounded. I tried to help him down but he wouldn't come and he was trying to get contact with the guns over the phones."
"The man who told this to me evidently left at this time and we took another shell in practically the same place."
"Bill was that type of a fellow. If he thought that there was a chance to do his bit he would never give up. That's why we all liked and admired him --for his sincerity and determination," Lieutenant Porter concluded.
A letter to Mrs Ford written by Yeoman Second Class E.J. Byrne gave a frank but forceful picture of the incident and subsequent events during the sinking of the Cushing.
Leg Broken and Face Burned.
:M battle station was close to Lieutenant Ford's." Byrne wrote. "He was seriously wounded by a shell hit. I was unhurt. I helped him down to the platform below and laid him on deck. I put a tourniquet on his right leg to stop the bleeding and put 'burn jelly' on his face. His leg was broken and bleeding badly and his face was burned by the flash."
"He was having difficulty in breathing and I loosened his collar. He released the air from his lifebelt and then he felt better. He then insisted that I leave him and see if I couldn't find something to do."
"I think his exact words were 'One Man Isn't Important; We've Got To Fight The Ship. See if You Can't Help Man Some Gun.'"
Byrne wrote that he then left Lieutenant Ford, could find no more guns working, and returned to the director platform to aid the officer. "Believe me, Mrs. Ford, I did all I could to help your son." Byrne said.
Another Shell Strikes Ship.
"It was so dark I couldn't see a thing . . . When the word was passed to abandon ship and I started to take Mr. Ford below, another shell struck the ship. I don't know how badly hurt Mr. Ford was this time."
"He was knocked out and I was thrown back on deck. When I got up my arm and leg were numb and almost useless. I tried to raise Mr. Ford again, but he told me not to."
"He said, 'go on, get off the ship. I can't make it.' I tried to push him down the ladder, anyway, but he shoved me away and I fell to the deck of the bridge below the ladder. The next thing I remember is pulling myself over the wing of the bridge and falling over the side."
"I have no idea of time. I don't know if I left the ship right away or if I laid on the bridge. I was weak and bleeding and dizzy. That is the last I saw Mr. Ford.
Not Heard of Since Ship Sunk.
"I shall never forget the devotion to duty and courage shown by your son in putting the fighting of the ship before his own safety. I can not state definitely that he did not get off the ship. I have asked everyone I saw, off the Cushing, about him, but none had heard anything about him since the ship was sunk."
"If he did not get off the ship, the navy lost a grand officer. I am proud to have served under him. If I must die before this war comes to an end, I hope I can show the courage and devotion to duty shown by your son."
"I wish my news could be different. I'd like to be able to tell you I was sure he got off -- but I can't."
Commissioned in September, 1941.
Lieutenant Ford was graduated from Homer High School, Marion Military Institute and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He graduated from Southern Methodist university in June, 1941, and received his commission as an ensign in September, 1941.
On June 28, 1942, Lieutenant Ford married Miss Frances Sypert of Hallsville, Texas, in San Francisco.

Courtesy of Sylvia Ford

Contributed on 5/12/14 by MryAl8
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Record #: 52895

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Submitted: 5/12/14 • Approved: 5/12/14 • Last Updated: 3/24/18 • R52895-G0-S3

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