1920 - 1945

Click on the photo to see it full size

Click on the photo to see it full size

Click on the photo to see it in full size
"Uncle" Tom Connor seated in a "Hellcat" for his official post-training photo, 1945

Professional photo of a Grumann Hellcat.  Tom's plane looked exactly like this in flight.

Tom Connor was assigned to the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier during 1944 He flew several missions before being shot down over Okinawa March 23, 1945.  CLICK HERE to see an interesting history of the Yorktown.  Another history of the Yorktown is on line and contains many interesting photos and links.  CLICK HERE to see more on-line history and links about the Yorktown

This painting, well known to WWII veterans, shows a Hellcat in action, destroying a Japanese "Zero."  Although we are only looking at a painting, "Uncle Tom" could well have seen such action; and the painting represents, for me, Tom's valor as later documented by his squadron mates.

The letter below was written to Tom's mother, Mary Agnes Egan Connor, by Tom's commanding officer.  "Gram" Connor was already five years a widow by this time and had three other sons on active military duty.  When reading the letter, note that Jerry Baden and Don Kent were assigned to "gather up" Tom's personal effects and help sort out whatever papers etc. were left in his quarters.  Further down this page I have displayed photos of the plaques on display on board the Yorktown at her final resting place in Charlestown South Carolina as of 2001.  We notice from the plaques that Jerry Baden was also killed in action just a few days after Tom.
CLICK HERE to see the last two letters Tom wrote home to his family.

If you've finished reading the letter above, you'll know why my keyboard has fallen silent.  How could this need a comment?! 
The two photos below are photos of the "program" printed and distributed aboard the Yorktown on the occasion of the memorial service held June 17, 1945.  Tom's body was never recovered; so we can assume that this service would have been (in the eyes of the Navy) Tom's funeral.  The biblical texts chosen by the ship's chaplains are certainly moving .
Note that the document has been stained in a pattern that is obviously the result of a leaky "fountain pen."  Those old enough to remember "pre-ballpoint pen" days will understand this.  I cannot help but notice that the leaky fountain pen combined with the fold of the document has resulted in a series of "Rohrshock" patterns.  (which also might fall "beyond" younger readers and non scholars.)  Yes, I have "done the Rohrshocks" that leaked onto Tom's funeral document... but I will not burden you... Each reader may do his/her own reading!

click on the photo to see it enlarged

The Yorktown's final "port" in Charleston SC is shown on the postcard above.  As of 2001, she is all "decked out" for visitors and tourists.  The principal attraction for thousands are replicas of the Hellcat and other planes who flew from her decks.  For many hundreds of Americans, however, the principal attraction is the memorial plaques honoring those who died.  Tom's placque is shown below.

Click on the photo to see it enlarged
The photo above shows the memorial plaque placed by the surviving members of Tom Connor's squadron in "fond memory" and respect for his valor as a war pilot.  Note that his friend Eston "Jerry" Baden, listed first on the plaque, was actually killed in action just a few days after Tom.  This photo and the postcard above were provided by Tom's younger brother, Jim, who visited "The Fighting Lady" in the summer of 2001.

CLICK HERE to see the last two letters Tom wrote home to his family.
CLICK HERE to return to the "Harry" Connor Family Website
CLICK HERE to return to the Connor Index page