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S1 James William Ackley

S1 James William Ackley

Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 26 Jul 1944 (aged 20)
At Sea
Burial Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 56786531 · View Source
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Son of Mr. & Mrs. Eugene R. Ackley.

James served as a Seaman First Class, USS Robalo (SS-273), U.S. Navy during World War II.

He resided in Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire prior to the war.

James was declared "Missing In Action" when the Robalo was struck a mine west of Palawan. during the war. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Four of the crew of 81 survived, however, they all four died while POW's.

Service # 6074016

( Bio: by Russ Pickett )

James William Ackley

Rank/Rate Seaman, First Class
Service Number 607 40 16
Birth Date July 7, 1924
From Nashua, New Hampshire
Decorations Purple Heart
Submarine USS Robalo (SS-273)
Loss Date July 26, 1944
Location Probably off the east coast of Balabac Island, PI
Circumstances Sunk by a mine
Information courtesy of Linda (Ackley) Caron, niece, and A. Roland Caron.


Compiled by Paul W. Wittmer and Charles R. Hinman, originally from:

U.S. Submarine Losses World War II, NAVPERS 15,784, 1949 ISSUE

ROBALO under Cdr. M. M. Kimmel, departed Fremantle on 22 June 1944 to conduct her third war patrol in the South China Sea in the vicinity of the Natuna Islands. After traversing Makassar and Balabac Straits, she was to arrive on station about 6 July, and stay there until dark on 2 August 1944.

On 2 July a contact report stated ROBALO had sighted a FUSO class battleship with air cover and two destroyers for escort in 3° 29'N, 119° 26'E, just east of Borneo. No other messages were received from ROBALO and when she did not return from patrol, she was reported as presumed lost.

The following information was received via the Philippine guerrillas and a U. S. Navy enlisted man who was a prisoner of war at Puerto Princesa Prison Camp, Palawan, P.I. On 2 August 1944, a note dropped from the window of the prison cell in which survivors from ROBALO were held was picked up by an American soldier who was in a work detail and given to H. D. Hough, Y2c, USN, another prisoner. On 4 August 1944, Hough contacted Mrs. Trinidad Mendosa, wife of guerrilla leader Dr. Mendosa, who furnished further information on the survivors. From these sources, he put together the following facts.

ROBALO was sunk 26 July 1944, two miles off the western coast of Palawan Island as a result of an explosion of her after battery. Four men swam ashore, an officer and three enlisted men: Samuel L. Tucker, Ens.; Floyd G. Laughlin, QM1c; Wallace K. Martin, SM3c, and Mason C. Poston, EM2c. They made their way through the jungles to a small barrio northwest of the Puerto Princesa camp. They were captured there by Japanese Military Police, and confined in the jail. They were held for guerrilla activities rather than as prisoners of war, it is said. On 15 August 1944, they were evacuated by a Japanese destroyer, and no other information is known regarding their destination or whereabouts. It is possible that they were executed by the Japanese or that the destroyer in which they were embarked was sunk. At any rate, they were never recovered, and their note stated that there were no other survivors.
It is doubted that a battery explosion could be sufficiently violent to cause the sinking of the ship and it is expected that the loss of ROBALO was caused by striking an enemy mine.

Note: Information compiled from many sources indicates that Robalo was probably lost off the east coast of Balabac Island, as shown below.

In her first patrol, in the area west of the Philippines, ROBALO damaged a large enemy freighter. Her second patrol was in the South China Sea near Indo-China; here she sank a 7500-ton tanker.

Gravesite Details Entered the service from New Hampshire.




  • Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56786531
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for S1 James William Ackley (7 Jul 1924–26 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56786531, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by CWGC/ABMC (contributor 6) .