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 William C. Hook, Jr

William C. Hook, Jr

Birth
Death 3 May 1943
At Sea
Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 84612066 · View Source
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USNR WORLD WAR II
Seaman 2nd Class, William C. Hook, Jr. MIA/KIA
Hometown: Pennsylvania
Ship: USS Cythera PY-26 (Patrol yacht)
Service # 4052396
Awards: Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal w/Star
Captain: LtCdr. Thomas W. Rudderow

Mission: Transfer mission
Mission Date: 2-May-42
Location: Off the Coast of North Carolina
Cause: Torpedoed U-402
Crew: of 71 69MIA/KIA 2POW

Officers and crew of USS Cythera were lost early in the morning of May 2 1942 officially declared KIA 1 year and a day later in May 1943.

USS Cythera (PY 26), a small, wooden hull, converted yacht, was refitted in the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard between December 1941 and March 1942. She was armed with two 3in deck guns, four .50cal machine guns, 50 depth charges and had a complement of five officers and 66 enlisted men. She was commanded by Cmdr Charles Rudderow, a US Navy veteran of WW1. Cythera was 212 feet in length and had a 28 foot beam.

Around midnight on 1 May 1942, USS Cythera (Cmdr C. Rudderow, USN) embarked from the US Navy Base in Norfolk, Virginia, enroute to Pearl Harbor, via Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone. She was at sea only 24 hours, traveling south on a zigzag course, when she was attacked at 06.41 hours on 2 May by U-402 approximately 115 miles east of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The U-boat stalked the patrol vessel for at least two hours and finally submerged for an underwater attack, when Von Forstner fired three torpedoes in a fan shaped pattern. The first torpedo passed directly under the bow, the second passed under the stern, but the third struck USS Cythera dead center. The ship immediately split in two, and the forward half rose steeply out of the water. The ship sank very quickly and at least two of her depth charges that were preset exploded underwater. This information was told to me by one of the two survivors, Mr. James M. Brown, who I located in Maine in 1991. He was on forward lookout at the time of the attack. The other survivor was Charles H. Carter, but I was never able to locate him. He was standing on the bridge next to the Commander when they were attacked. As a side note, Charles H. Carter was at Pearl Harbor aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37) that was sunk during the Japanese attack. He survived two attacks within 5 months when the ships he was aboard were sunk - incredible!

Shortly after USS Cythera went down, U-402 surfaced and turned on its search light looking at whatever debris was floating in the large oil slick that was all that remained from the ship. Brown and Carter were found clinging to a small raft and were taken aboard as prisoners. They asked to be left back in the water but Von Forstner replied: No, boys, the war´s over for you

Visit the virtual cemetery of USS Cythera Crew


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  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: ShaneO
  • Added: 6 Feb 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 84612066
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William C. Hook, Jr (unknown–3 May 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 84612066, citing East Coast Memorial, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .