Mitchell, Walter Herschel, CBM

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Last Rank
Chief Petty Officer
Last Primary NEC
BM-0000-Boatswain's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Boatswain's Mate
Primary Unit
1940-1942, BM-0000, USS Canopus (AS-9)
Service Years
1922 - 1944
BM-Boatswain's Mate
Five Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Mitchell, Walter Herschel, CBM.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Jeffersontown, Kentucky

Casualty Date
Dec 22, 1944
Hostile, Died while Captured
Lost At Sea-Unrecovered
Not Specified
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/USS Canopus (AS-9)
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

World War II, 1941–1942

On 7 December 1941, Canopus, aging but able, lay at Cavite Navy Yard, as tender to Submarine Squadron 20. In the days that followed, her men worked day and night to repair ships damaged in the daily air raids as well as to keep her brood of submarines at sea. With the Army falling back on Manila, Canopus sailed to Mariveles Bay at the tip of Bataan on Christmas Day. On 29 December 1941, she received her first direct bomb hit. A 500 pound armor piercing bomb penetrated all decks and exploded on the propeller shaft housing. Six sailors were killed, mostly from scalding and fires started in the engine rooms and magazines. The six men were buried at sea at 1735 in Mariveles Bay. On 1 January 1942, she received a second direct bomb hit, this time a fragmentation bomb which exploded near the top of the towering smokestack, resulting in substantial damage to the ship and injuries to 16 men of the gun crews.

Disguised as a bombed out, listing, abandoned hulk, smoke pots were placed around the ship and gave the appearance of an abandoned hulk by day, while the ship hummed with activity by night. Her crew worked at a fevered pace repairing the smaller ships also left behind and keeping the submarines in action.

Just before the New Year, the last of the submarines left Canopus, but she never quit as she cared for small craft and equipment of the Army and Navy, sent her men into battle in the improvised naval battalion which fought on Bataan, and converted her own launches into miniature gunboats dubbed Mickey Mouse Battleships which attacked the Japanese moving south near the shore. But the overwhelming Japanese strength could not be held off forever, and upon the surrender of Bataan on the night of 8/9 April 1942, Canopus was ordered scuttled in Mariveles Bay, Bataan, to deny her use to the enemy. On 9 April, she was backed off into deep water under her own power and the veteran whom the Japanese could not sink ended a lifetime of service to the Navy when she was laid to rest by her own men.

221 of her crewmen were evacuated to Corregidor on February 28, 1942 and served with the Marines 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions on beach defenses. The final 327 crewmen were also evacuated to Corregidor and served in the 4th Marine Regiment's 4th Battalion Reserves (Provisional) which fought gallantly during the final battle for the island fortress. Nearly all Canopus crewmen were captured at the fall of Corregidor and spent the rest of the war in Japanese POW Camps in the Philippines and the Asia mainland.

Over 200 were killed in action.


Purple HeartPrisoner of War Medal
Rank/Rate Chief Boatswain's Mate
Service Number 288 91 82
Birth Date February 24, 1904
From Jeffersontown, Kentucky
Decorations Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal
Ship USS Canopus (AS-9)
Date of Death December 22, 1944
Location *
Circumstances Died as a Prisoner of War
Remarks Walter was born in Fairview, Kentucky.

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 Duty Stations
Submarine Training Facility (SUBTRAFAC)/Submarine Training Facility (SUBTRAFAC) NorfolkUSS Canopus (AS-9)
  1923-1923, SN-0000, Submarine Training Facility (SUBTRAFAC)/Submarine Training Facility (SUBTRAFAC) Norfolk
  1940-1942, BM-0000, USS Canopus (AS-9)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1942 Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of the Philippines
  1942-1942 Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of Bataan
  1942-1942 Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of Corrigedor
 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  2017, World War II Fallen
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