The “Fighting Hannah”: A War History of the U.S.S. Hancock CV-19

Hancock (2)

About the Book

First published in 1946 by Sterling Engraving Company, Seattle, Washington, the unpaged book has been reprinted by The Battery Press, Inc., in Nashville, Tennessee. The ship’s history is accompanied by dozens of pictures. At the end are photos of all the men of the ship, taken between the announcement of the surrender of the Japanese in mid August and the formal signing aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

The Author

I could find no information about Eugene G. Hines.

My Thoughts

Donald W. Wilson was a plank owner on the USS Hancock (CV-19), serving on the crew through the remaining months of World War II. The book details the combat operations of the ship from October 1944 through the end of the war, including the largest World War II naval battle, Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Hannah was only out of action for refueling and reprovisioning, and for repairs after being attacked by a kamikaze.

One picture shows my uncle, CEM Donald W. Wilson, with the Electrical Divison of the ship, taken between VJ Day (August 14, 1945) and the formal surrender on September 2.

VJ (1)
CEM Donald W. Wilson (age 25) is sixth from left in the front row.

Listed at the back of the book are those crewmates Killed in Action and Missing in Action and where they were from. There are no notes nor bibliography, but still a valuable resource for researchers.

15 comments

    • Bless you, Deb! I gave my first presentation about the family to a senior citizens group (many I went to high school with) at Earlham yesterday, and my book about the family (Leora’s Letters) is about to get birthed in the next few weeks! Their story is finally getting shared. All five brothers are featured on the new Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn–dedication to be held the 19th. I was just asked to speak that day, too–I said yes!

    • Ordered it. I ordered anything Uncle Don suggested! I’ll feature a really well done one on the USS Yorktown the 23rd. He’d also suggested Typhoon: The Other Enemy that is scheduled for December 11–about 75 years after it occurred. Uncle Don never had any kids and lived in Washington State. I’m in Iowa where he grew up. We carried on a correspondence for years. He was very gracious about my naive questions.

  1. It is nice to have these connections to family who enjoy or can share such history.

    I have a grandfather who served with MacArthur in Japan after the surrender. He was on the general’s staff during the reconstruction efforts and his office was just down the hall. He also played the trumpet in USO shows to entertain the troops stationed there.

    I also had a great uncle who was a P-15 mechanic and who repaired these fighters on the airstrip on the island.

    Having these ties gives one a different perspective on life and American history, I think.

    • Do you remember his having opinions about MacArthur? Have you written about him? Photos? Uncle Don Wilson met Adm. McCain on the Hancock in November 1944. That story is scheduled for November 15. You’ll like it. Do you mean P-51? Which island? I disliked history until realizing it’s about people, and that people related to me were affected by what went on across the nation and world. Now I’m hooked.

      • I have a collection of amazing letters he and my grandmother wrote to each other during the war. The letters really portray what life was like during the war; food shortages, sacrifices victory gardens at home and his duties overseas.

        I have a few photos. Unfortunately, their home burned down years ago and most everything was lost. The letters were found in a shoe box in a storage unit later.

        I am considering trying to do a book based on these letters. Either as a collection of letters with a narrative for background or a novel based on the letters.

        Most of the letters are very touching. A few are mundane and would be left out.

        Oops. Yes. P-51 Mustang! Typo on my part!

      • There are amazing stories still out there. You are great at scene and dialogue. I think you’d sell more as a novel based on a true story. I have a friend whose historical novel (due out in 2020) is based on her grandparents’ letters to each other during WWI. We start uploading Leora’s Letters, narrative nonfiction, to KDP tomorrow, with about 55 old photos (during WWII). Had a co-writer to put the manuscript on a diet. I had trouble leaving things out. I’m a better typo editor than a writer, huh!

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