Dickinson, Jr, Clarence Earle.

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Dickinson, Jr, Clarence Earle, born 01-12-1912, in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida to Earl Clarence Dickinson (1882-1944) and his wife Thurber, born Gore, Dickinson (1887-1967). Clarence had one sister and one brother, William Litchfield Dickinson (1910-1914) and Thurber Gore Dickinson Hannafey (1918-1973). He lived in New Hanover, North Carolina in 1920 and Fayetteville, Cumberland in 1930. Clarence registered for military service in 1941. 

Clarence Dickinson graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy in 1934. On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, his unit was the Sixth Squadron VS6, he was at sea with the USS Enterprise. under the command of Kapitein-ter-zee Georges Dominic Murray.   Sent to Hawaii the day of the attack on a Reconnaissance mission, his plane was attacked by embarked Japanese fighters which shot it down, killing its tail gunner. However, he managed to escaped by parachute, landed near Ewa Airfield, and proceeded to the naval air station, Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. After that he was immediately assigned to a 175 mile aerial search operations at sea, his recent ordeal not having been reported to his superiors.

He then participated in the raid on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and in the Battle of Midway (June 4-6, 1942) as second in command of the Sixth Squadron,  then commanded by Lieutenant Richard Halsey  Best.

In the attack on the Japanese fleet, Dickinson and 4 dive bombers from his squadron attacked the Japanese Aircraft Carrier Kaga scoring the third of four hits with 250 kg bombs disabling the large carrier. After the attack, he was shot down by Japanese fighters, managed to survive along with his gunner, was rescued and returned to service.

At the end of the war, Lieutenant Dickinson’s outstanding courage, daring airmanship and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He was the only serviceman to receive three Navy Crosses, and he ended his military career with the rank of Rear Admiral (a rank equivalent to Vice Admiral).

He married the Helen Jayne Disher (1913-1970), the widow of Lieutenant. Alberto Edward Emerson, USN, about 1947 and they had at least two children, John Bruce Dickinson (1949–1971) and the other James. After Helen’s death he married Florence (Kari) Galloway (1919-1992) on 18 Dec 1971, in Monterey, California.

In 1946, Clarence was given command of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13), nicknamed “Big Ben” (after Benjamin Franklin) until it was decommissioned in 1947. Clarence would later graduate from Dartmouth College with a Master’s Degree, and teach at Hartnell College from 1963 until his retirement in 1976.

Death and burial ground of Dickinson, Jr, Clarence Earle.


He died on 04-10-1984, in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara, California, United States, at the age of 71, and was buried in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Section W, site 33-A.

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  1. Admiral Dickinson has all my
    Respect and admiration. One of my history professors implored us to seek out veterans and learn all we could. I so wish today id have sought him out before his death. A great American Hero from the greatest generation. I know the Lord has blessed you Admiral and you occupy a place of honor in Heaven. God bless you and your memory.

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