North High School Wall of Honor
Donald Arthur Ash
Would have graduated in Class of 1943;
Awarded diploma in June, 1946.
Donald Arthur Ash
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
Donald Arthur Ash

Don would have graduated from North High in the class of 1943. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941. He was awarded a diploma from North High in June, 1946. His service number was 3217506. His next of kin was his mother, Mrs. Bertie Ash, 1603 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA.

Donald Arthur Ash
Year x Rank x Status
December, 1941 x Enlisted/
US Navy
x Enlisted at Polk County Court House, Des Moines, IA
1943 x x x Would have graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
January 17, 1942 x US Navy
x Six weeks at USNH, US Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL/ US Hospital Corps School
date x US Navy/
Apprentice3- HA3
xx By rail to US Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, NH to complete basics
date x x x By rail via New Hartford, New Hampshire, and Connecticut Railroad to NY
date x Training x Brooklyn Naval Barracks; Mobile Hospital #8; eventually Fleet Hospital 108. For mobile hospitals, we learned here: The supplies, equipment, and buildings for all mobile and base hospitals were procured by the Medical Supply Depot, Brooklyn, N. Y., and each hospital was commissioned there. During the period of assembling and packing the hospital supplies and equipment, the hospital staff assembled at the Depot, where they were indoctrinated in the methods of hospital construction and outfitting and were advised regarding the methods of identification of the packed and crated equipment.
early, 1943 x x x By rail to Terminal Island, CA. Shipped via *SS Elihu Thompson (called a Henry Kaiser coffin) from Fort Hueneme, CA to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides
1943 x Enroute x To Guadalcanal via New Zealand minesweeper. Took Higgins boat ashore.
date x US Navy
Pharmicist Mate 2/C
x At Guadalcanal to clear and survey area for mobile hospital.
**See comments below by Captain Turville from Mobile Hospital 8.
late 1944 x Enroute x To Naval Advanced Base; Russell Island, Solomon Islands. Suffered concussion.
1945 x Enroute x From Fleet Hospital 108, was shipped back to San Francisco on ***USS Roi (CVE-103) or ****USS Munda (CVE-104) and then to Chicago to the Wesley Memorial Hospital.
late 1945 x US Navy/
PhM1/C; V6
x Honorable discharge; US Naval Pier, Chicago, IL
1945-Present x Civilian x Living in OR and AZ.
*SS Elihu Thompson (Hull Number 0427)
Later (CINCPAC Communique No. 139; October 3, 1944):
The SS Elihu Thompson, a Liberty ship operated by the War Shipping Administration and chartered by the Navy, struck a mine while entering a South Pacific port on September 25. Eleven Army personnel on board the vessel were killed by the resultant explosion and 22 are missing. No casualties were suffered by Naval or Merchant Marine personnel. Survivors were re­moved from the Thompson by patrol craft and the ship's own boats, and a Navy salvage unit took the vessel in tow and beached her. The ship can be restored to service. All next of kin of casualties have been notified.

Liberty ships carried a crew of about 44 and 12 to 25 Naval Armed Guard. Some were armed with (1) One 3" bow gun; (2) One 4" or 5" stern gun; (3) Two 37mm bow guns; and (4) Six 20mm machine guns.

A Liberty ship was usually 441 feet long and 56 feet wide. Her three-cylinder, reciprocating steam engine, fed by two oil-burning boilers produced 2,500 hp and a speed of 11 knots. Her 5 holds could carry over 9,000 tons of cargo, plus airplanes, tanks, and locomotives lashed to its deck. A Liberty could carry 2,840 jeeps, 440 tanks, or 230 million rounds of rifle ammunition.
**Comments by CaptainWilliam H.H. Turville, Mobile Hospital 8, Guadalcanal
City Doctor Builds Jungle Hospital
Guadalcanal Mobile Unit Treated 23,000 and Saved All But 51
At a point in the Guadalcanal jungles X miles inland from the northern coast, there is a small rectangular building with eight windows that are nearly always shuttered.

It is made of corrugated metal, painted black on the outside and lined with plaster wallboard. The room is furnished bleakly, and in the half-light that comes through the shutters, the walls seem to press inward.

This is a building that no one wants to enter. It is a morgue - but a morgue with a story all its own.

When the building was finished on the 103 acre reservation of the Navy's Mobile Hospital No. 8, one corpsman turned to another and asked, "Think they'll use it much?"
Story Available
Today, almost a year later, when all enemy resistance in the Solomons has been neutralized, the answer - and the story of the morgue - is available.

From the time it opened last August 7, 1942 until May 16, 1943 of this year, the mobile hospital admitted 23,000 patients, 70% of those Marines.

Of that number, only 51 - or less than one-quarter of one percent - were taken to the morgue. The rest lived, many to fight again. This low death rate has started Navy gossip that Mobile Hospital No. 8 will receive a unit citation, but if this is true, Captain William H.H. Turville, its first commanding officer, has heard nothing about it.

Captain Turville, 49, a native Philadelphian who has been in the Navy 27 years, was detached from the hospital May 6, after leading it since its formation in August, 1942. Captain Turville told about the hospital while sitting at ease in his home at 2401 North 21st Street.

First They Had to Build It
After his staff of 50 officers, 300 enlisted men, and 73 Seabees assembled in New York, Captain Turville read them their orders: they were to operate a hospital in the jungle, but first they would have to build that hospital.

Hands that once held scalpels would now have to thread pipe; a dermatologist learned the grease-coated parts of a refrigerator; a urologist turned to the technique of handling large steel sheets for the building walls.

Following training in New York and on the West Coast, the group went to Guadalcanal where Captain Turville and his engineer picked out a hospital site, paying special attention to a water supply, drainage, and natural camouflage.

The ground was cleared and the building started, but shortages developed. Nails ran out; the doctors used nails extracted from packing crates. There were no hinges for cabinet doors; airplane wing parts were hammered into hinges after the planes had crashed. There were no Mayo tables to hold surgical instruments; pipes and trays were wielded together to meet the need.

On August , 1942, one year after the Americans had surged back into Guadalcanal in 1942, the hospital opened its door and 400 patients were promptly admitted. (Question date of the hospital's opening)

Building Continued
Still the building continued: a water pumping station capable of getting 350 gallons a minute from the Tenaru River was completed; six generators turned out 400 kilowatt hours of elecric power; 36 wards were finished to hold 1750 single beds or 2500 double beds; operating rooms were multiplied until 2,300 operations were performed between August 7, 1942 and May 16, 1943.

All of this occurred while the men were meeting opposition from nature and Japs. Nature allowed the temperature to change as much as 35 degrees in a single day. In the rainy season, a ditch 20 feet wide, six feet deep, would be filled in a single sudden spurt of rain. The humidity was always close to the saturation point, and men, animals, and machines alike were affected.

Thirty times while Captain Turville awas on Guadalcanal, the Japs sent bombers over the hsopital. Some bombs exploded as close as 300 feet to the reservation, and patients and doctors huddled in bomb-proof shelters; that is, all except those who were too ill to be moved. For those men, Captain Turville ordered corpsmen to put mattresses on top of the patients and then crawl under the springs, waiting in case they should be needed for emergency aid.
Water Main Hit
A Jap bomb once hit the four inch water main, leaving the hospital without a source of fresh water for 18 hours, but tanks with a 176,000 gallon capacity kept the hospital supplied until repairs could be made.

Operating rooms at the hospital were equipperd with the most modern appliances. From one of the Solomon Island battles came a Marine with a Jap bullet lodged in the muscles of his heart. Surgeons cut away a portion of his ribs, tore back the flesh shield over the heart, and extracted the bullet. The Marine is still alive.

In the hospital's early days, the staff was always tense when a radio message would come that a load of casualties was approaching. Receiving wards were cleared, doctors stood by; corpsmen and nurses were on edge. Then the casualties would arrive; some by plane, some by ship. They would be sent to the receiving wards, classified, and sent to wards and operating rooms for immediate treatment.

After a time, however, so many casualties came to the hospital that the early tension vanished; it was just another job.
USS Roi; CVE-103
USS Roi; CVE-103
***USS Roi (CVE-103)
World War II
Following shakedown off San Diego, Roi was assigned to the Carrier Transport Squadron which carried planes, equipment, and men to forward bases. On 13 August 1944, she steamed for Espiritu Santo and Manus Island, loaded with 287 passengers and 71 planes, returning to San Diego on 27 September. Underway again for Manus on 21 October, she returned to San Diego before departing on 2 December on a third voyage which took her to Eniwetok and Guam.

Following overhaul at Alameda, California, Roi made two round-trip voyages to bases in the Marshall and Mariana Islands before returning to Pearl Harbor to begin carrier refresher operations in preparation for her new duty as a replenishment carrier for the fast carrier task force of the 3rd Fleet.

Loading 61 replacement aircraft in a 30-day combat ready state, Roi sailed to Guam, where she reported to Task Group 30.8 (TG 30.8). Her duties were now to furnish pilots, crewmen, planes, and aviation supplies to the carriers of Task Force 38 (TF 38) on rendezvous days following their attacks on the Japanese home islands. Roi got underway on 4 July with Admiralty Islands, Hollandia and Thetis Bay, and met TF 38 at sea on 12 July, 16 July, and 20 July, retiring to Guam on the 21st to reload. She got underway on the 27th with 61 more planes, and joined the fast carriers on the 31st. Returning to Guam, the ship reloaded and met the task force again on 14 August, just prior to the cessation of hostilities, then remained with the 3rd Fleet off Japan in preparation for the occupation.

Following the end of the war, Roi was used in "Magic-Carpet" operations, returning veterans to the United States for discharge

USS Munda; CVE-104
USS Munda; CVE0194 USS Munda; CVE-104 Patch
***USS Munda (CVE-104)
World War II
USS Munda (CVE-104) was a United States Navy Casablanca-class escort aircraft carrier. She was the last of the series to be built.

More Casablanca-class carriers were built than any other single class of aircraft carrier in history, and the last to be built on the Liberty Ship platform; the Commencement Bay class escort carrier which followed was designed from the keel up as a carrier.
She was laid down on 29 March 1944 under Maritime Commission contract as MC hull 1141 by the Kaiser Shipyards, Vancouver, Washington, originally designated ACV-104, and redesignated CVE-104 on 15 July 1944. Originally named Tonowek Bay on 23 September 1944, the carrier was renamed Munda on 6 November 1944, in honor of the battle to take Munda Bay in the Solomon Islands. It was during this fight that Rodger Wilton Young was killed. Some commemorative photographs of the ship gave the name as Munda Bay.

After a west coast shakedown, Munda, assigned to Carrier Transport Squadron, Pacific Fleet, got underway independently on 16 August 1944 on her maiden voyage. With 71 planes and 202 passengers crowded aboard, she arrived at Espiritu Santo on 1 September. Proceeding next to Finschhafen and Manus Island, she returned to Alameda, California for brief availability, before setting out again to carry replacement planes and personnel to forward areas. Returning from her second supply run on 5 December, she was underway again on the 12th. She completed three more runs to various islands in the Pacific before mid-1945, when she sailed for Eniwetok on 3 July. There, she joined Task Group 30.8 (TG 30.8) and commenced supplying planes pilots, and aviation stores to the fast carriers of Task Force 38 (TF 38).
Higgins Boat
Great Lakes, IL Higgins Boat
Donald Arthur Ash
Pharmacist Mate 1C
US Navy

U S Navy Seal

US Navy Insignia

Donald Arthur Ash at Boot Camp

US Navy Cap Insignia

Great Lakes, IL

Pharmacist Mate 1st Class
Purple Heart

Sample of medals.
A comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2019 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Donald Arthur Ash's 1943 class can be viewed at: Donald Arthur Ash
010/03/10: Living in OR and AZ.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh" by the U.S. Navy Band
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