Territory Stories

Harold George Gronau

Details:

Title
Harold George Gronau
Name
Harold George Gronau
Also known as
Gronau, Harold George
Collection
WWII Roll of Honour; HistoryNT; Second World War, 1939-1945
Date
2021
Place of birth
Iowa (USA)
Date of birth
1913
Place of enlistment
Iowa (USA)
Date of enlistment
1939-10-04
Nation of service
United States of America
Service
United States Navy
Unit
USS Peary (DD-226)
Rank
Shipfitter 3rd Class
Service number
321-35-01
Next of kin
Louis F. Gronau - Father; Anna Gronau - Mother
Date of death
1942-02-19
Place of death
USS Peary (DD-226)
Memorial
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Cultural heritage
American
Honours and awards
Purple Heart
Biographical notes
Harold George Gronau, Shipfitter 1st Class (321-35-01), was born in Iowa in 1913, the third child of six born to Louis F. and Anna, the children of German immigrants.
History
Enlisted on 4 October 1939. In February 1940 Gronau was a passenger on USS Pyro from Pearl Harbor to Puget Sound Navy Yard for assignment to duty. He served on USS Whipple from 17 March to September 1941 and transferred to the Peary on 18 October 1941. Gronau survived the bombing of the Peary in Cavite Bay, the Philippines, as well as the three attacks on the way to Australia, and a further attack on the way to Timor. He was twenty-eight and unmarried when he died in Darwin Harbour. The Peary had endured a dramatic voyage to Australia in December 1941, after sustaining damage in a bombing attack on the Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines. The crew camouflaged the ship with green paint borrowed from the Army, and took refuge during daylight by anchoring close to the islands and covering the ship with palm fronds. Many of the Peary's crew contracted malaria on this journey and eight men eventually died from the disease. They were attacked on 26 and 27 December, but avoided damage by violent manoeuvring. The Peary arrived in Darwin on 3 January. In January the Peary was operating on anti-submarine patrol, convoy and escort missions; while escorting troops from Darwin to Timor, the ship was again attacked. They returned to Darwin, refuelled and set off again with the cruiser USS Houston. A fruitless submarine chase exhausted the Peary's fuel, and she returned to Darwin in the early hours of 19 February. The Peary was hit early in the bombing of Darwin, and appears to have sunk within 40 minutes. The fifth bomb to hit the Peary caused the fatal damage that sent her to the bottom and it was said to be the last bomb dropped that day on the harbour. The Peary's machine guns continued to fire at the Japanese planes even as she sank. Eighty-eight officers and men, including Captain Bermingham, were killed; twenty of the fifty-seven survivors were wounded. In December 1942 the Peary was awarded one battle star for service in World War II.
Notes
Metadata: Attribution International 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
Language
English
Subject
Second World War, 1939-1945; Bombing of Darwin; Roll of Honour; Northern Territory history; USS Peary
File type
image/tiff
Use
No known copyright
Copyright owner
Library & Archives NT; Library & Archives NT
License
https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/pubic-domain/pdm
Related links
https://www.abmc.gov/decedent-search/gronau%3Dharold [American Battle Monuments Commission]; https://www.wrecksite.eu/peopleView.aspx?182192 [Wreck Site]; https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=334209&S=9&R=0 [Darwin Raids - Casualty Lists and Enquiries]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/273318 [PictureNT : PH1069/0013, USS Peary and USS Houston, Norman Frederick Townsend Photo Album]; https://www.abmc.gov/decedent-search/gronau%3Dharold [American Battle Monuments Commission]; https://www.wrecksite.eu/peopleView.aspx?182192 [Wreck Site]; https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=334209&S=9&R=0 [Darwin Raids - Casualty Lists and Enquiries]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/273318 [PictureNT : PH1069/0013, USS Peary and USS Houston, Norman Frederick Townsend Photo Album]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/842877 [WWII Military Units : USS Peary (DD-226)]
Parent handle
https://hdl.handle.net/10070/839275
Citation address
https://hdl.handle.net/10070/840352

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