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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Fraser

Birthplace: Stafford Springs, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating:

Middle Name: Edward



Date of Birth: 06 February 1901

Date of Death: 14 November 1942 (Presumed)

Rank or Rate: Commander

Years Served:
Thomas Edward Fraser

   
Engagements:
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)

Biography:

Thomas Edward Fraser
Commander, U.S. Navy

Thomas Edward Fraser was born on 6 February 1901 in Stafford Springs, CT.

Fraser was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy on 3 September 1920. After graduating on 4 June 1924, he served in USS Wyoming (BB-32) for nearly a year and studied torpedo warfare at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, RI, before reporting for duty on board USS Worden (DD-288) on 17 January 1926. He served on that destroyer until 1 May 1930. Following assignments on USS Ellis (DD-154) and at the New York Navy Yard, Fraser reported on 1 March 1934 for duties in connection with the fitting out of USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37). Assignments to the Philadelphia and Portsmouth Navy Yards followed in the late 1930s.

During 1940 and 1941, he briefly commanded, in turn, destroyers USS Yarnall (DD-143), USS Claxton (DD-140), and USS Broome (DD-210). On 10 November 1941, he became Commanding Officer of USS Walke (DD-416) and on 20 August 1942, he was appointed to the temporary rank of Commander.

On the night of 14-15 November 1942, the Walke was a part of Rear Admiral Willis Augustus Lee's Task Force 64, when it encountered a large Japanese force off Savo Island attempting to bring reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Acting as the senior commander of the four destroyers of the task force, Commander Fraser boldly led them into action against the numerically superior Japanese force. The torpedoes and heavy gunfire of the Japanese vessels took a devastating toll on the American destroyers and, shortly after midnight, Fraser gave the order to abandon the Walke.

Not all the depth charges were set on safe and the Walke exploded under water, injuring and killing many men in the water; including Commander Fraser.He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his valor and devotion to duty.

Honors

The USS Thomas E. Fraser (DM-24) was named for him.

Death

Commander Thomas Edward Fraser died at sea on 14 November 1942 near the Salvo Islands, Solomon Islands. His body was not recovered and is buried at sea. A memorial for him is located at Saint Edward Cemetery in Stafford Springs, CT.



Honoree ID: 2516   Created by: MHOH

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