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Remembering World War II
John Southworth Curry
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Name: John Southworth Curry Rank: Machinist’s Mate First Class Service Number: 2017557 Service: USS Kalk (DD-611), United States Navy Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: September 9, 1921 Place of Birth: Melrose, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Date of Enlistment: August 16, 1940 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Address at Enlistment: Melrose, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 18 Date of Death: June 12, 1944 Age: 22 Cemetery: Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines Grave: Walls of the Missing John Southworth Curry was the son of Albert Fitch Curry (1880-1953) and Alice Bradford (Southworth) Curry (1884-1960). John had two siblings – Robert Winslow Curry (1913–2010) and Elizabeth F. Curry Gile (1915–2016), John S. and Margaret A. Curry. John’s father was born in Liverpool, Queens Co., Nova Scotia. His mother was born in Malden, Middlesex County, Massachusetts John attended Melrose High School before enlisting in the United States Navy in August of 1940. John served on the USS Mahan (DD-364). He appears on the muster rolls on October 31, 1940, December 31, 1940 and June, July and September 1941, December 1941 and March 1942). He also served on the USS Idaho (BB-42) (muster roll October 4, 1942), before serving on the USS Kalk (muster roll in March 1944) until the time of his death on June 12, 1944. After overhaul at New York and Boston, the USS Kalk arrived Norfolk December 29, 1943, and then sailed January 2, 1944 for the Pacific. After providing fire support during the invasion of Biak Island on May 27th, Kalk continued escort and picket duty between Biak and Humboldt Bay. While on patrol June 12, 1944, off the southern coast of Biak, an enemy plane dived out of the sun and released a bomb which struck abaft her forward stack at the base of her starboard torpedo tubes. As the USS Kalk's 20 mm gunfire downed the attacker, the bomb exploded the air flasks of her torpedoes, destroying several 20 mm guns, showering her crew with shrapnel, and damaging her superstructure amidships. Though suffering 70 casualties, her crew rallied to save the destroyer. Firefighters extinguished each blaze; and, while other hands tended the wounded, volunteers detached the warheads from torpedoes scattered about the deck. Machinist’s Mate First Class John Southworth Curry was among the 70 casualties of June 12, 1944. The only Allied ship seriously damaged in more than 2 weeks of repeated air attacks at and near Biak in the Battle of Biak Island, Kalk retired to Hollandia, New Guinea, for emergency repairs and sailed 20 June via the Admiralties and Pearl Harbor for the United States. John Curry has no known grave and is remembered on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. He is also remembered on a family headstone at the Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose, Middlesex Co., Mass.