|Birth: ||Feb. 28, 1919|
|Death: ||Feb. 3, 1943, At Sea|
Irvin served as a Private, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.
He resided in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania prior to the war.
He enlisted in the Army on June 19, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was noted as being employed as a Barber and also as Single, without dependents.
Irvin was declared "Missing In Action" when the USAT Dorchester, on which he was a passenger, was torpedoed by German U-boat U-223 south of Greenland in the Atlantic and sunk. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
This was the same ship that received national recognition during the war since the "Four Chaplin's" were also lost during this sinking. A total of 675 soldiers and sailors were lost.
US Army Air Corps WORLD WAR II
Passenger Private, Irvin Lewis MIA/KIA
Hometown: Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Ship: USAT Dorchester
Service # 33318607
Awards: Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, European - African Campaign Medal
Captain: Captain Preston S. Krecker MIA/KIA
Mission: US Navy Convoy SG-19
Mission Date: 3-Feb-43
Location: off the coast of Greenland
Cause: Torpedo attack from U-223
Crew: On Board 902 · Saved 230 · Lost 672
3 Feb. 1943, about 100 miles from Narsarssuak Greenland on a cold, moonless, starless night... At 00:55 a torpedo hit Dorchester's starboard side, just forward of her beam. The power and lights went out immediately. The Dorchester, listing to starboard, was able to get out six blasts on the fog horn, and had started another six blasts, when the steam ran out. Many of the troops, ordered to sleep with their lifebelts on, didn't do so because of the heat trapped within the ship's hull from her boilers. They came up to the deck to find stark contrast.
According to survivor accounts, commanding officer Captain Preston S. Krecker assisted his men in abandoning ship, and went down with the ship in so doing.
Dorchester is best remembered today for the story of the Four Chaplains who went down with her. The four chaplains found a deck box full of lifebelts and together started assisting the men who were without into the belts and overboard. Soon the box was empty. The chaplains, one by one removed their own lifebelts and gave them to men who had none. The Chaplains locked arms, sang and prayed for the men as the Dorchester sank with them on board. All four perished with the ship. In 1948 the US Postal Service issued a stamp to commemorate the sinking.
The S.S. Dorchester was one of three identical ships built in 1926 for the Merchants and Miners Transportation Company. In February 1942, the S.S. Dorchester entered the war effort as the United States Army Transport (U.S.A.T.) Dorchester. The Dorchester's master, Capt. L B Kendrick, continued on during the first five voyages to Greenland in 1942. After the fifth voyage he retired and master Danielson came aboard for his first and last voyage. Captain Krecker was the commanding officer while Lt. Arpaia was the commander of the Naval Armed Guard. Also aboard were four Army Chaplains, Father John Washington (Catholic), Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Rabbi Alexander Goode (Jewish) and Rev. George Fox (Methodist).
Visit the virtual cemetery of USAT Dorchester Crew
Note: Entered the service from Pennsylvania.
East Coast Memorial
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Plot: Tablets of the missing
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56114551