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Remembering World War II
Name: Blanchard Sydney Silver Rank: Machinist’s Mate First Class Service Number: Unknown Service: USS Frederick Funston (APA-89) US Navy Date of Birth: September 6, 1897 Place of Birth: Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: 1942 or 1943 Place of Enlistment: Unknown Address at Enlistment: Manatee, Manatee Co., Florida Age at Enlistment: Unknown Occupation: Assistant Fire Chief Marital Status: Married Next of Kin: Alice Letitia Silver, wife Date of Death: March 11, 1945 Age: 47 Cemetery: National Memorial Cemetery of The Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii Grave: Section C, Site 1527 Blanchard Sydney Silver was the son of John Francis Silver (1875-1908) and Effie E. (Osborne) Silver (1875- 1967). His father was born in Lunenburg, NS and his mother, in Halifax, NS. His father was a fisherman. Blanchard served Canada in the First World War (Service No. 2098321) as a Sapper with the Canadian Engineers, enlisting January 4, 1916. He served in Canada, and at the St. Lucia garrison in the British West Indies with the 10th Fortress Company of Canadian Engineers. He then enlisted in Canada’s permanent force post-war and transferred to the Special Force of the Canadian Military Police Corps (Service No. 2779974) on November 15, 1919 and was promoted to Lance Corporal. In September 1919, the Department of Militia and Defense was asked by the British Government to furnish a unit to process, handle and transport members of the Chinese Labour Corps from Halifax to Vancouver, British Columbia. It was also requested to staff a Transit Camp at William Head, BC. Member of the Chinese Labour Corps served under British Command in France and Flanders during WWI. This Corps was termed “expendable” and was used to dig trenches and other earth works, construct and repair roads and rail lines. At the conclusion of WWI there were about 100 000 of these Chinese in France. The Imperial Government decided that they would be returned to China. Most of the them did not want to return, but a decision was made to interne them and have them returned to China. It was projected that some 25 to 30 thousand Chinese would be returned to China via Canada. The plan was to transport them by ship to Halifax, load them on special trains and transport them under guard to William Head and Vancouver. At Vancouver they were to be put aboard ships for passage to China. The Department of the Militia accepted this distasteful task and decided that a Special Guard of the Canadian Military Police Corps be formed to handle this duty. As a result, the Special Guard CMPC was authorized with an establishment of 542 all ranks. The Headquarters was in Halifax with Train Guard Detachments of 492 all ranks. Another Guard Unit of 2 Officers and 50 Military Police was located at the Transit Camp at William Head. Blanchard Sydney Silver immigrated to the United States in 1924, travelling from Halifax to Boston, Massachusetts on the Northland on August 23rd. He completed his Declaration of Intention to become a US Citizen in January 4, 1926 in Boston while living at 26 Clarendon Street in Somerville, Boston. Blanchard married Alice Letitia Sawyer (1903-1975) on September 7, 1927 in Arlington, Mass. Alice was born in Cambridge, Mass. By 1930 they were living in Manatee (now Bradenton), in Manatee County, Florida; Blanchard was working as a farmer. They had a daughter Effie Letitia born in 1933 and a son, John Francis, born in 1935. In 1940, Sydney was working as the Assistant Fire Chief from the city fire department in Manatee. Blanchard registered for the US Draft in Manatee on February 16, 1942. He was still working for the City of Manatee at the time. Blanchard Sydney Silver served on the USS Frederick Funston (APA-89), a Frederick Funston-class attack transport, mustering on that ship February 23 and March 16, 1944. The Funston participated in the landings at Salerno, and returned to New York December 31, 1943. After loading men of naval construction battalions at Davisville, Rhode Island, Frederick Funston sailed for the Pacific, arriving at Honolulu March 16, 1944. Here the ship landed the Seabees and embarked Marines for the invasion of Saipan, landing them in the initial assault June 15th. After a week off the beaches offloading cargo and taking casualties on board, the ship returned to Honolulu. Here the casualties were transferred to hospitals, and soldiers taken on board with whom the ship reinforced Guam on July 24th. During August, the transport joined in training operations in the Hawaiian Islands, then crossed to Manus, from which it sailed October 14, 1944 for the invasion of Leyte. The Funston landed its troops and cargo on October 21st, the day after the initial assault, and the following day cleared for Aitape, New Guinea, to embark reinforcements. These were put ashore at Leyte November 14th. Training off New Guinea and in Huon Gulf prepared Frederick Funston for the initial landings on Luzon of January 9, 1945. That night a watchful lookout spotted and shot a suicide swimmer only 50 yards from the ship. Completing its unloading the next day, Frederick Funston sailed by way of Leyte and Ulithi to Guam to embark Marines for the assault on Iwo Jima. With its troops held in reserve, it did not land them until February 27th, although the ship lay off the island throughout the assault. The returned to Guam with casualties March 8th, then replaced its landing craft at Guadalcanal and exercised at Nouméa through April. Machinist’s Mate First Class Blanchard Sydney Silver died on active duty on March 11, 1945. The cause is unknown. He was initially interred at the Halawa Naval Cemetery in Oahu, Hawaii and reinterred January 6, 1949, at the National Memorial Cemetery of The Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Blanchard Sydney Silver
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