Forsyth, Arthur Churchill

Arthur Churchill Forsyth
Born: September 20, 1922
Hometown: Hempstead, Long Island, NY
Class: 1943
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Third Mate
Date/Place of death: January 15, 1945 / Norfolk, VA
Date / Place of burial: Unknown
Age: 22

 

 

 

Arthur C. Forsyth graduated from Kings Point on January 4, 1944. He signed on as
Third Mate aboard the Liberty Ship SS Zebulon Pike on December 28,1944 at the port
of New York. He was joined by his academy classmate Edward S. Sherman who
signed on as Second Mate the same day.

Forsyth and Sherman had served aboard the same ship at least twice. Both men
signed on as Deck Cadets aboard the SS Caleb Strong on November 5, 1942. The
men signed on as Third and Second Mate, respectively, aboard the SS Robert F.
Stockton at New York, NY on January 20, 1944 and signed off on November 5, 1944 at
the same port. At the time they signed aboard the Stockton, Forsyth is shown as
having six months sea time while Sherman had seven months time.

The SS Zebulon Pike sailed from New York to Norfolk, VA on January 1, to load cargo.
On January 15, 1945 at 1900, Arthur Forsyth and Edward Sherman left their vessel.
According to the Zebulon Pike’s Official Log Book, at 0245 on January 16, the Master
was informed by Norfolk Police that the two men apparently commandeered a taxi,
drove the taxi into a body of water and drowned.

According to an account of the incident published on January 16, 1945 in the Norfolk
Virginia Pilot, the taxi containing the two men drove off the Chesapeake and Ohio
Terminal at the foot of Brooke Avenue into the Elizabeth River shortly before 10pm. A
rescue boat was on the scene within fifteen minutes of the accident, but neither man
was found in the water. With the assistance of Navy Diver Mack McKesson and a
floating crane, which arrived on the scene at 11:30 p.m., the car was brought to the
surface at 12:25 a.m. At that time Edward Sherman’s body was found to be floating
face up outside the car with his coat caught in the door of the cab. Arthur Forsyth’s
body was still inside the cab when the car was brought to the surface. Edward
Sherman’s body was taken to the Ewell & Williamson Funeral Home while Forsyth’s
body was taken to the Cox Funeral Home for preparation for burial. Before the ship
sailed on January 18, the personal effects and wages of Edward Sherman and Arthur
Forsyth were left at the U.S. Shipping Commissioner’s office, for return to their families.

For his service aboard the SS Caleb Strong and SS Robert F. Stockton Arthur C.
Forsyth was awarded the Atlantic War Zone, Pacific War Zone and the Mediterranean-
Middle East War Zone Ribbons, the Victory Medal and the Presidential Testimonial
Letter.

Arthur C. Forsyth was born in Hants, Nova Scotia to John Stewart Grant Forsyth and
Francis Churchill Forsyth. The family moved to the U.S. in 1924. Arthur’s mother died
in 1942 and his older brother Alfred was killed in Italy in 1944. His younger sister was
Mary Elizabeth. John S. Forsyth is identified as a telephone engineer in the 1930 and
1940 U.S. Census. The Forsyth family lived on Staten Island in 1930 but by 1940 had
moved to Hempstead, Long Island.

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