1920 - 1945

Click on the photo to see it fullsize

Click on the photo to see it fullsize

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

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

Tom Connor was assigned to the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier during1944 He flew several missions before being shot down over Okinawa March23, 1945.  CLICK HERE to see an interestinghistory of the Yorktown.  Another history of the Yorktown is online and contains many interesting photos and links.  CLICKHERE 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."  Althoughwe are only looking at a painting, "Uncle Tom" could well have seen suchaction; and the painting represents, for me, Tom's valor as later documentedby his squadron mates.

The letter below was written to Tom's mother,Mary Agnes Egan Connor, by Tom's commanding officer.  "Gram" Connorwas already five years a widow by this time and had three other sons onactive military duty.  When reading the letter, note that Jerry Badenand Don Kent were assigned to "gather up" Tom's personal effects and helpsort out whatever papers etc. were left in his quarters.  Furtherdown this page I have displayed photos of the plaques on display onboard the Yorktown at her final resting place in Charlestown South Carolinaas of 2001.  We notice from the plaques that Jerry Baden was alsokilled in action just a few days after Tom.
CLICK HERE to see the last two lettersTom 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 needa comment?! 
The two photos below are photosof the "program" printed and distributed aboard the Yorktown on the occasionof the memorial service held June 17, 1945.  Tom's body was neverrecovered; so we can assume that this service would have been (in the eyesof the Navy) Tom's funeral.  The biblical texts chosen by the ship'schaplains are certainly moving .
Note that the document has been stainedin 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 thefold 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 SCis shown on the postcard above.  As of 2001, she is all "decked out"for visitors and tourists.  The principal attraction for thousandsare replicas of the Hellcat and other planes who flew from her decks. For many hundreds of Americans, however, the principal attraction is thememorial plaques honoring those who died.  Tom's placque is shownbelow.

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

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