This collection consists of a WWII diary (October 5, 1942-March 9, 1943) kept by Lt. Thomas M. Clement during his service aboard the USS Philadelphia, newspaper clippings concerning the Philadelphia, citations of service for Clement, leave passes, morning orders, and the Sixth Birthday Edition of the History of the Philadelphia (September 23, 1943) which was printed aboard ship. Clement's diary documents the Philadelphia's service during the Invasion of North Africa, especially the assault on Safi and Casablanca.
Thomas M. Clement was born on August 22, 1909, in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri, was a sales manager for the American Tobacco Company, and then served as an officer in the Navy during World War II with distinction. He served on several U.S. cruisers including the USS Philadelphia. After the war he was a real estate broker and appraiser in Oklahoma City. He was married to Martha J. Clement who died in 1976 and to Ila Pearson Clement. He had a son Thomas C. Clement (1943-1962) and he died on January 10, 1996, in Bethany, Oklahoma. He is buried in Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Commissioned on 23 September 1937, and constructed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the 10,000 ton light cruiser USS Philadelphia began its WWII service in the Chesapeake for training purposes. From the Chesapeake, Philadelphia's first engagement of WWII took place off of Scoglitti, Italy. The crew reported that the vessel was christened during this battle as the vessel narrowly missed enemy bombing by a mere thirty-five yards from the port bow. Philadelphia's actions off of Italy earned the vessel the nickname "Galloping Ghost" for its devastation and illusiveness to the Axis forces. The Philadelphia continued to operate in the Atlantic theatre through the duration of the war, the vessel (and crew) earning five battle stars for the services rendered. Battles of particular importance were the battle of Salerno, part of the Fifth Army's invasion of Italy, and the battles off of French Morocco.
Upon American involvement in WWII, Thomas M. Clement left his position at the American Tobacco Company to serve in the U.S. Navy. On 4 October 1942, Lt. Clement joined the crew of USS Philadelphia CL-41 in Norfolk Virginia. While stationed in the Chesapeake, the crew practiced amphibious landing techniques and Clement began his war diary. Written for his wife Martha, his diary (1942-1945) chronicled the everyday activities aboard the vessel as they traveled through the Atlantic (specifically North African near Morocco, and Mediterranean waters near Italy). Of particular interest are 7th and 8th of November entries which outline his watch duty hour by hour, showing the diligence expected of each man aboard the vessel. The December 24th-25th entries also offer curiosity as he writes of the conflicting realities of celebrating a holiday while under attack. Throughout the diary, Clement includes the coordinates of the vessels positions and the daily miles traveled. The diary concludes on March 9th, 1945, with a section labeled "Personal Thoughts." Lt. Clement received national recognition for his service during the war when he was awarded the Naval Bronze Star for outstanding service as a Flag Lieutenant and an Aide to Rear Admiral Lt. Davidson in the Mediterranean Theatre. Within the collection are several newspaper clippings reporting on this momentous occasion. At the war's conclusion Clement returned to Oklahoma where he was a real estate broker and appraiser.
Besides Clement's diary this collection also contains historical information concerning the USS Philadelphia found in the Sixth Birthday Edition of the Press News published September 23, 1943, on the anniversary of the commissioning, military passes, a morning order, a photograph of Lt. Clement and an unknown person, and newspaper articles concerning both the USS Philadelphia and Lt. Clement.
Purchased from Denning House Antiquarian Books & Manuscripts
Processed by Kaitlin Clothier November 11, 2015
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.