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 Thomas Jefferson Lively

Thomas Jefferson Lively

Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Death 21 Feb 1942 (aged 44)
At Sea
Burial Body lost at sea, Specifically: Thomas J. Lively was on the SS Azalea City when the ship was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Maryland. There were no survivors.
Memorial ID 70275804 · View Source
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Parents: Mary Elizabeth (BOYD) and McClellan Lively
Siblings: McClellan (aka Mack), Ernest, Ethel, Dorothy, Prentice
Spouse: Isabelle HALL
Child: James Floyd

Mr. Lively enlisted in the US Navy in 1917 and served during WWI. He received Armed Guard training and served on merchant vessels as part of a Navy gun crew charged with protecting their assigned ships and civilian crews. His Navy Service No. was 1816325 (do not know discharge date). On Nov 16, 1936, he applied for a Seaman's Protection Certificate in New Orleans, LA and his Navy discharge papers were attached (but not shown). On this application was attached a small photo and the following physical description: 39 yrs old, ruddy complexion, brown eyes and hair, 5'5 1/2" tall, weighed 155 lbs and the only distinctive mark was a scar at the base of his left thumb. He was already working as an Able Seaman at that time but there was no info as to how long. The earliest crew list found for him was from 1933.
Service No: Z 154879

Address of Record: Evansville, Indiana

THOMAS J. LIVELY signed on the SS Azalea City in late November 1941 as Boatswain (Bosun). Azalea City was an American merchant ship, docked at the Port of New York at the time, with an expected departure date of Dec 1st for Norfolk VA. From Norfolk, the ship was expected to sail on Dec 5th for Buenos Aires Argentina via Trinidad.

Mr. Lively was on the unarmed, unescorted freighter as it left Trinidad on Feb. 12, 1942 with a cargo of 7806 tons of linseed, bound for Philadelphia. The ship did not arrive as expected and after several months without receiving any kind of notification, the ship was presumed to be 'missing.' The fate of the Azalea City and her 38-man crew was a mystery until after the war when German naval records revealed what had actually happened.

On Feb 21st the ship was spotted by German submarine U-432 in heavy seas about 125 miles east-southeast of Ocean City, Maryland. Two torpedoes were fired, the first one missed but the second hit amidships. A little over an hour later, a third torpedo was fired which struck forward of the bridge, and the Azalea City capsized. It is thought that the cargo of linseed, rather than the torpedo hits, caused the ship to capsize.

There were thirty-eight men on board; none survived.

(bio by Patricia O'Neal)

Family Members

Gravesite Details Thanks to Linda Yuan for link to Mr. Lively's wife.


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  • Created by: Patricia O'Neal
  • Added: 23 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 70275804
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Jefferson Lively (10 Aug 1897–21 Feb 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 70275804, ; Maintained by Patricia O'Neal (contributor 47113049) Body lost at sea, who reports a Thomas J. Lively was on the SS Azalea City when the ship was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Maryland. There were no survivors..