Korean War U.S. Navy Seaman Photograph Album

Manuscript Collection #1305

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Korean War U.S. Navy Seaman Photograph Album
    Creator: Between The Covers--Rare Books, Inc
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Photograph album documenting the travels (1951) of the USS Seiverling through stops in Pearl Harbor, Midway, Japan, and probably Hong Kong, participation in the Taiwan Strait Patrol, and bombardments near Songjin, North Korea. Photographs depict not only the activities of the sailors, but also activities of the local people. Also included are photographs of other U.S. Navy ships, and small boats carrying surrendering North Koreans.
    Extent: 0.125 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box, consisting of a photograph album
  • Description

    The photo album is from an unknown sailor serving on board the USS William Seiverling (DE-441) during its 1951 tour of duty. The album cover is made out of painted wood but is missing the front cover. The binding is leather tied together with cord. The pages are sturdy black cardboard with some gold gilt edging still remaining. Some of the photos are missing throughout the album, but most that remain have captions in the margins that include dates and short descriptions. There are a total of 157 black and white photos with sizes ranging from three and a half by two and a half inches to five and three fourths by four inches. Along with the photos there are eight color postcards from Yokosuka Japan, three color photos, one large aerial photo of USS Seiverling, one holiday greetings postal telegraph from James P. Somerville and family to Jay Fox, and ten colored flyers/stickers/coupons from destinations where USS Seiverling stopped.

    The photos in the album include photos of sailors aboard USS Seiverling as well as locals at some of the stops the ship made on the way to Korea. There are also photos of leisure activities both on and off the ship including acrobats entertaining the crew. Some photos show practice maneuvers of USS Seiverling and other ships as well as battle operations of US Navy ships, including shore bombardment. There are also some photos of Korean war prisoners being transported to USS Seiverling. Various parts of the ship are shown in many of the photos.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    USS William Seiverling (DE-441) was named after William Frank Seiverling Jr. He was born September 22, 1920 at Elizabethtown, PA., and enlisted in the US Marine Corps at Philadelphia, PA. on February 2, 1942. He began service in the field on June 19, 1942 and was killed on November 1, 1942. Seiverling was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for unselfishly giving his life for his comrades and his country. When his platoon was attacked by the enemy he ran towards enemy fire killing a sniper and serval others. He covered wounded comrades as they were evacuated and then heard about another platoon in trouble. He ran to their aid as well, running between his comrades and the enemy so that they could withdrawal in the face of sniper and machine-gun fire. He was wounded but continued to cover his comrades until it was his turn to retire when he was fatally wounded.

    USS William Seiverling construction started on December 2, 1943 at Newark NJ and launched on March 7, 1944. Immediately following it's commissioning on June 1, 1944 the ship carried out shakedown training near Bermuda. After some time in port and some repairs USS Seiverling shipped out on the 9th of August headed for the Pacific. Once it reached Pearl Harbor it started participating in various missions including exercises in torpedoes, surface gunnery, and shore bombardment. Soon after USS Seiverling started antisubmarine duty and was later assigned to a hunter-killer force operating out of Ulithi. When sailing out of Ulithi USS Seiverling helped patrol between the islands in the Central Pacific. The ship as well as others moved to the Lingayen Gulf to help patrol the area and support the Lingayen landings. USS Seiverling also supported the actions around Iwo Jima by patrolling the sea lanes between the Marianas and Iwo Jima in search of Japanese subs. From March 21, 1945 until April 15, 1945 the vessel provided antisubmarine protection for escort carriers around Okinawa, and then continued patrols between Okinawa and Ulithi. Later USS Seiverling served with the 3rd Fleet replenishment group until it returned to antisubmarine patrols with the 7th Fleet. After leaving the 7th Fleet it continued patrols based out of Leyte near San Pedro Bay until August 27th. During September 1945, USS Seiverling supported the occupation forces in Japan. The ship returned to the US by the end of November 1945, and was formally decommissioned on March 21, 1947.

    The onset of the Korean War created the need for warships that had been decommissioned at the end of World War II to return to duty, and one of those ships was USS William Seiverling, recommissioned on December 27, 1950. On its way to Korea the ship made stops at Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Sasedo. At first USS Seiverling took part in patrols along the Taiwan Strait but moved on to the Korean' war zone in July. It conducted bombardment missions near Songjin and patrolled the coast as part of the UN blockading force. In September the ship helped blockade Wonsan harbor. During this blockade the ship was hit three times by shore batteries and had to return to Sasebo for repairs until it returned to the US on November 22, 1951. For the majority of 1952 USS Seiverling patrolled the California coast. It was not until November 16, 1952 that USS Seiverling was again part of the blockade of Wonsan harbor. While in the area the ship was part of three more tours of duty around Korea returning to the US on June 9, 1954. After an overhaul and some training duties were completed USS Seiverling returned to Korea to participate in a landing exercise at Sokcho Ri. USS Seiverling had a few more tours of duty around Japan and Korea over the next several years. Preparations for decommissioning started June 1957 and the ship was officially decommissioned by the end of September 1957. It was not until December 1972 that USS Seiverling was struck from the Navy list and the ship was sold for scrap on September 20, 1973.


    "William Seiverling (DE-411)." Naval History and Heritage Command, Unived States Navy, 2 Nov. 2015, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/w/william-seiverling.html. Accessed 5 September 2018.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    September 28, 2017, .125 cubic feet; Photograph album documenting the travels (1951) of the USS Seiverling through stops in Pearl Harbor, Midway, Japan, and probably Hong Kong, participation in the Taiwan Strait Patrol, and bombardments near Songjin, North Korea. Photographs depict not only the activities of the sailors, but also activities of the local people. Also included are photographs of other U.S. Navy ships, and small boats carrying surrendering North Koreans. Purchased with state funds from Between the Covers.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased with state funds from Between the Covers.

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Korean War U.S. Navy Seaman Photograph Album (#1305), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

    Processing Information

    Processing completed September 5, 2018, by Timothy A. Smith.

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