the list of 52 LOST BOATS of World War Two as designated by the SubVets of WWII
Submarine Memorial Site
Wall family Cemetery
West Oak Township, Mills County Iowa
memory of MM/1C Vernon Palmer Wall
are a variety of memorials in Iowa that honor our veterans in all American
Wars, from the Revolutionary to Desert Storm. Most are significant structures
as is the very impressive Freedom Flame Memorial in Des Moines on the Capitol
While this magnificent architectural monument presents a wonderful memorial tribute to all servicemen in all services, who served in these wars, today there is no mention of the Submarine Force's contribution to the winning these wars.
Nor, in the entire state of Iowa is there a memorial to the US Submarine Veterans of WWII's adopted submarine S-36/SS-141 lost in January, 1942.
Soon that will change. The US SubVets of WWII Iowa Chapter have an active plan to place a stainless steel, etched plate on one of the reserved areas on the monument. It will list the 52 boats lost during World War II of which will be listed their adopted submarine, the S-36.
While these magnificent structures have been erected to be impressive, and they are, a great deal of time and money has been expended to erect themů and little is said about the individual. The primary purpose of these monuments is to memorialize the fighting men as groups, and not necessarily as individuals.
Yet, the whole is made up of its parts and the parts of the various services are the individual servicemen that brought its service to victory.
These memorials to individuals are normally small monuments erected by family members, organizations, or simply those who have an interest in the person, the accomplishment and or the deed. Still others, of the smaller nature are erected to the men of a single incident in the war.
For example, there will soon be a small memorial to a member of the USS SQUALUS SS-192 that was sunk on 23 May 1939 and raised 13 September of the same year and renamed SAILFISH on 9 February 1940.
All of these, large or small, grand
or humble, serve as living reminders to all of us as of the debt we owe
to those who fought in the wars as waged upon us by determined enemies,
and which our fallen men and survivors of those wars helped win. Each memorial,
reiterates the cry, "Lest we Forget," to tell the world "We
have not forgotten"
The Wall Family Cemetery
The cemetery is a small, private and nearly forgotten isolated acreage of ground. Also known as a Submarine Memorial, it is now both a memorial to one person - who lost his life on a submarine fighting in the Pacific - and to all lost WWII U.S. Submariners
The submarine memorial is a much later monument and has an interesting and tragic story behind it and it's reclamation. One of the family's direct descendants was Vernon Palmer Wall, who enlisted in the Navy within days of Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the submarine USS SEAWOLF SS-287, which was lost at sea with all hands on October 7, 1944.
Note: The USS SEAWOLF, which is the WWII SubVets-of-Texas' adopted submarine and has been memorialized in Seawolf Park, Galveston, Texas. SEAWOLF shares its location with the USS CAVALLA Submarine Museum and the USS STEWART, the last of its class of Destroyer Escorts extant.
Until September of 1979, the cemetery itself had been forgotten and neglected. None of the family lived in the Midwest and as is happening everywhere, acreage around the plot were being sold for homesite development
Roy Gaddis, a former Electrician's Mate who is a retired electrician and lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, found the cemetery and alerted the Wahoo, Nebraska Chapter of the United States Submarine Veterans of WWII. The Chapter's Historian Clint Orr, did some investigating and found the information on Vernon Wall. He and Ray Cavanaugh began cleaning up and mowing the small plot that year.
After some of the Wall family members learned of the plot's existence, they donated funds to put up a strong chain link fence to replace the hog wire that had ineffectively enclosed the cemetery and donated money for shrubs and plants. His family put up a cenotaph marker which is dedicated to him, together with grave markers of the US Submarine Veterans of WWII and the American Legion.
The Submarine Vets are still taking care of the plot and they keep a US flag flying over the site to honor Vernon Wall and all Submariners who lost their lives in World War II. It is a small but impressive memorial.
More information regarding this Memorial site may be found found at the website of Marta Dawes who developed the website containing the information regarding the Wall Memorial to MM/1C Vernon Palmer Wall.
All text and images in this section were contributed by Art Randall
Directions to Wall Cemetery Submarine