SHENANGO VALLEY —
”My grandparents were never told the full story,” Dunsmore said.
”Everyone was pretty much sworn to secrecy about the circumstances.”
One of Thompson’s shipmates, Stuart P.Tulk, did put into writing his recollection of that stormy day, but they stop short of describing exactly what the Cutlass encountered, aside from very rough seas.
We were heading into 40-50 foot sweels with white froth blowing on top,Ó Tulk wrote.
Lt. Thompson and two others were on the bridge in “full foul-weather gear,” he wrote, “tethered with belt and chain.”
Tulk was in the control room were he served as auxiliary electrician. “We encountered a contact ahead,” he wrote.
The captain ordered the bridge to be cleared and “Bill and the lookouts prepared to come below as we made the turn.” “With the strong wind and the high seas on the port side of the very large sail, we went over to starboard about 85 to 90 degrees. We hung there for a while, less than a minute,” he wrote.
The other two men were able to remain aboard the sub, but Thompson was swept overboard.
”We heard a panicked response on ever MC button they could find: “The OD (officer of the deck) is overboard. The OD is overboard. The OD is overboard. The OD is overboard.” Over and over,” Tulk wrote.
They spent hours looking for him, to no avail, and he was presumed lost at sea.
But his legacy lives on, and now is marked with the bench at Buhland, something Dunsmore said he’s grateful for.
”The span of time from when that happened and their desire to do this spoke of the depth of their friendship,” Dunsmore said of the shipmates.
Fifty five years after a Sharon man was lost at sea while serving on a submarine in the U.S. Navy, his shipmates gathered with family members to honor him in his hometown.