USS Peary bombing survivor now with shipmates

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    USS Peary bombing survivor now with shipmates

    REBEKAH CAVANAGH
    February 20th, 2009

    THE family of the last survivor from the USS Peary said yesterday they now have "closure" after scattering his ashes at the site where the ship went down in Darwin Harbour in 1942.

    Dallis Widick was one of 31 sailors who survived when the USS Peary slowly sank on to the ocean bed after sustaining devastating blows in her final battle when the Japanese raided Australia's north 67 years ago.

    See all the pictures of the commemorations in Darwin

    Ninety-one of his comrades went down with the ship.

    Mr Widick, who was the last remaining survivor, died in his American home surrounded by his family and friends on September 22 last year.

    His wife Lorna said it was her husband's dying wish that his ashes be committed to sea over the USS Peary wreck so that he could spend eternity with his shipmates.

    In an emotional ceremony attended by family who had travelled from the United States and Western Australia, the veteran sailor's wishes were fulfilled yesterday.

    The family fought to hold back tears and whispered their goodbyes as Navy chaplain John Marshall tipped the sailor's ashes out and lowered four wreaths on to the water.

    Mrs Widick said seeing her husband's ashes rest in the ocean gave her and their five children - Dallis Jnr, Suzanne, Cathy, Robert and Gary - "closure".

    "He wanted to be with his comrades - he was going home," she said.

    "I honestly feel like I've come to closure and that's exactly what my husband would have wanted."

    His eldest son Dallis said his father first told him about what he saw and experienced during the bombing of Darwin when he was in his 30s.

    "It is an amazing story and he had never spoken about it before," he said. "I was in disbelief."

    After the bombing, Mr Widick married Perth-born Lorna and they settled in California where they raised their five children.
     

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  2. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    :salute: Fair winds and following seas, sailor. :salute:
     
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    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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