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Remembering World War II
Name: Paul Martin Deveau Rank: Fireman Second Class Service Number: 7616488 Service: USS Turner (DD-648), US Navy Date of Birth: August 19, 1923 Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts Date of Enlistment: December 15, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Address at Enlistment: Walnut Street Court, Quincy, Boston, Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 19 Occupation: Rigger, Bethlehem-Hingham shipyard Marital Status: Single Next of Kin: Frank Deveau, father Date of Death: January 3, 1944 Age: 20 Cemetery: East Coast Memorial, Battery Park, Manhattan, New York, NY Grave: No known grave, on the Tablets of the Missing Paul Mandé ‘Martin’ Deveau was the son of Francois ‘Frank’ Nelson Deveau (1893–1946) and Agatha Marie (Comeau) Deveau (1889–1957). Paul’s father also served in the US Navy. His father was born in Lynn, Mass., his mother, in Digby County, Nova Scotia. Paul had seven siblings – Laura Marie Deveau Finch (1915–2003), Beatrice M Deveau Felaccio (1917–2005), Florence Rita Deveau Luisi (1920–1997), Nelson Joseph Deveau (1924–2016), Ernest Thomas Deveau (1927–1974), Eileen Patricia Deveau Mayhew (1929–2012), and Richard Joseph Deveau (1930–1987). Three of Francis’ brothers, Nelson, Ernest, and Richard all served in United States Air Force. The family lived on Sea Avenue in Quincy, Boston, Massachusetts in 1930. In 1940, they were living 7 Walnut Street Court in Quincy. By 1942, his parents had moved to 56 Bird Street in Quincy, and Paul was employed as a rigger at the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard. After enlisting in December of 1942, Paul was assigned to the USS Turner, a Gleaves-class destroyer. He transferred from R/S Long Beach, New York, to the USS Turner on April 15, 1943, the day the Turner was commissioned. On August 31, 1943, he was promoted from Seaman 2nd Class to Fireman 2nd Class. The Turner completed outfitting at the New York Navy Yard and then conducted shakedown and antisubmarine warfare training out of Casco Bay, Maine, until early June. On the 9th, she returned to New York to prepare for her first assignment, a three-day training cruise with the newly commissioned carrier, Bunker Hill (CV-17). Returning to New York on June 22nd, she departed again the next day on her first real wartime assignment, service in the screen of a transatlantic convoy. First, she sailed with a portion of that convoy to Norfolk, Va., arriving that same day. On the 24th, the convoy departed Hampton Roads and shaped a course eastward across the Atlantic. After an uneventful voyage, she escorted her convoy into port at Casablanca, French Morocco, on July 18th. She departed with a return convoy on the 23rd and arrived back in New York on August 9, 1943. Later that month, she was in the screen of a convoy to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making a brief stop at Hampton Roads along the way. On the return trip, she rendezvoused with HMS Victorious and accompanied the British carrier to Norfolk. During the first 2 weeks of September, Turner conducted ASW training at Casco Bay, Maine, and then returned to New York to prepare for her second transatlantic voyage. On 21 September, the destroyer headed south to Norfolk. She arrived there on the 23rd and, the following day, headed out across the Atlantic with her convoy. After an 18-day passage, during which she made one depth-charge attack on a sound contact, Turner arrived at Casablanca on October 12th. Four days later, she departed again and headed for Gibraltar to join another convoy. The warship reached the strategic base on the 17th and, after two days in port, stood out to join the screen of Convoy GUS-18. On the night of October 23rd, Turner was acting as an advance ASW escort for the convoy when she picked up an unidentified surface contact on her SG radar. At 1943, about 11 minutes after the initial radar contact, Turner's lookouts made visual contact with what proved to be a German submarine running on the surface, decks awash, at about 500 yards distance. Almost simultaneously, Turner came hard left and opened fire with her 6-inch, 40-millimeter, and 20-millimeter guns. During the next few seconds, the destroyer scored one 6-inch hit on the U-boat's conning tower as well as several 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter hits there and elsewhere. The submarine began to dive immediately and deprived Turner of any opportunity to ram her. However, while the U-boat made her dive, Turner began a depth-charge attack. She fired two charges from her port K-gun battery, and both appeared to hit the water just above the submerged U-boat. Then, as the destroyer swung around above the U-boat, Turner rolled a single depth charge off her stern. Soon after the 3 depth charges exploded, Turner crewmen heard a fourth explosion, the shock from which caused the destroyer to lose power to her SG and FD radars, to the main battery, and to her sound gear. It took the crew at least 15 minutes to restore power entirely. Meanwhile, Turner began a search for evidence to corroborate a sinking or regain contact with the target. At about 20:17, she picked up another contact on the SG radar - located about 1,600 yards off the port beam. Turner came left and headed toward the contact. Not long thereafter, her bridge watch sighted an object lying low in the water. Those witnesses definitely identified the object as a submarine which appeared to be sinking by the stern. Unfortunately, Turner had to break contact with the object in order to avoid a collision with another of the convoy's escorts. By the time she was able to resume her search, the object had disappeared. Turner and Sturtevant (DE-239) remained in the area and conducted further searches for the submarine or for proof of her sinking but failed in both instances. All that can be said is that probably the destroyer heavily damaged an enemy submarine and may have sunk her. No conclusive evidence exists to support the latter conclusion. The next day on October 24th, the 2 escorts rejoined the convoy, and the crossing continued peacefully. When the convoy divided itself into two segments according to destination on November 4, 1943, Turner took station as one of the escorts for the Norfolk-bound portion. Two days later, Turner saw its charges safely into port and then departed to return to New York where she arrived on November 7th. Following 10 days in port, the warship conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises briefly at Casco Bay before returning to Norfolk to join another transatlantic convoy. She departed Norfolk with her third and final convoy on November 23rd and saw the convoy safely across the Atlantic. On January 1, 1944, near the end of the return voyage, that convoy split into two parts according to destination as Turner's previous one had done. Turner joined the New York-bound contingent and shaped a course for that port. She arrived off Ambrose Light late on 2 January and anchored, having completed three convoys to Europe. Early the following morning, January 3rd, the destroyer suffered a series of shattering internal explosions. By 06:50, the ship took on a 16° starboard list; and explosions, mostly in the ammunition stowage areas, continued to stagger the stricken destroyer. Then, at about 07:50, a singularly violent explosion caused the ship to capsize and sink. The tip of the USS Turner’s bow remained above water until about 08:27 when it disappeared completely taking with it 15 officers and 123 men. Paul Martin Deveau has no know grave and is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing on the East Coast Memorial situated in Battery Park in in Manhattan, New York, NY. Over the next year following the loss of the USS Turner, the US Navy completed salvage operations on the sunk vessel and in the end all that remained was part of one boiler. But during the salvage, human remains were found and placed in four separate graves in the Long Island National Cemetery. Exactly how many bodies are in those four graves is unknown. It would range from four to all 138 casualties of the loss of the Turner. A second sailor, Gunner's Mate Third Class Edward Louis Lambert, was born in Margaree Forks, Nova Scotia, and died in the second explosion on the USS Turner, attempting to assist the Turner and its crew.
Paul Martin Deveau
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Sources Photo: Courtesy of Timothy A. Byrnes U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949 USS Turner findagrave
Photo of Paul was taken by his cousin Doris Deveau at her home on City Island, Bronx, New York while his ship was in port.