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Thomas Frederick Vincent, Jr.

Thomas Frederick Vincent, Jr.

Purple Heart

Rank/Rate Seaman, First Class
Service Number 711 63 00
Birth Date June 16, 1926
From Newburgh, New York
Decorations Purple Heart
Submarine USS Bonefish (SS-223)
Loss Date June 18, 1945
Location Toyama Wan, Japan
Circumstances Sunk by depth charge attack

Tommy Jr. was one of four children of Thomas and Katherine Vincent. Tommyʼs sister Rose was the oldest, and then came Tommy, Benny, and Richard, the youngest.

Tommyʼs mother and father were Italian immigrants who came to America at the turn of the century. At a very early age Tommy had a natural gift for drawing. At age 13 he drew a sketch of his conception of what a sub would look like in 2047. He was always seen with a sketchpad drawing everything from Bat Man, Dick Tracy to futuristic space ships.

After the Bonefish was sunk my mother made contact with Russel Johnston's mother in Brooklyn NY. We live 60 miles north of Brooklyn in Newburgh NY. They decided to meet. My mother took a bus to the city and then the subway to Brooklyn. When she exited the subway it had started to rain so she ducked into a store to buy an umbrella. She put her purse down for a split second and someone stole it. In the purse she had all the photos my brother had sent her while on sub duty and all of his letters. The theft made the NY papers and Arthur Godfrey read the story on his radio show and pleaded for the thief to return the letters and photos. She never did recover any of it.

Tommy was assigned to the Bluefish SS 222 and was just back from a war patrol. The sister ship Bonefish SS 223 was going out on patrol the next day. One of the Bonefishʼs sailors had an appendix attack the night before it was to sail. With one sailor short Commander Edge of the Bonefish wanted to fill the slot. He new Tommy and ran
into him on the base. CDR Edge asked Tommy to sail with him the next day. Tommy accepted and the rest is history. We never found out what sailor had the appendix attack.

Below is a poem that his Uncle Joe wrote for his mother and father in memory of Tommy.

It happened in Toyama Bay a long long time ago,
When a brave and daring fighting lad went out to fight the foe,
It makes our hearts hang heavy for our son that is no more,
For now he lies beneath the sea…he fought from shore to shore.
May the good Lord bless him wherever he may be,
Our loving, laughing, fighting son, on the “BONEFISH” out at sea.

We love and miss you, Mother and Dad

Photo, information, and remarks courtesy of Richard Vincent, brother.


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  Vincent, Thomas Frederick, Jr.

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