Hamilton County


Lt. Alexander Groves



He Learns of Transfer Through Freeman-Journal

When Ensign Alexander Groves, aboard the U.S.S. Marblehead at Shanghai, China, picked up a month old copy of The Daily Freeman-Journal sent him by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Groves, he learned for the first time that he had been given a transfer to the flight division of the navy.

The Daily Freeman-Journal
published this Associated Press dispatch Nov. 13. Ensign Groves gets the paper regularly and on Dec. 13 he got the Nov. 13 issue. He had been wanting to be transferred to the flight training division and was overjoyed when he read the dispatch.

A letter just received by his parents said he had received no official notice at that time due to official routine. He expects to arrive in the United States March 31 aboard the President Taft, landing at San Francisco. From there he will go to the naval air base at Pensacola, Fla.

Since his graduation from the naval academy at Annapolis, Md., two and a half years ago, Ensign Groves has been in Asiatic waters.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA, January 13, 1940

Lieut. Alexander Groves is Killed


Body Will Be Brought Here by Naval Escort; Funeral Tuesday.

Lieut. Alexander Groves, 24, was instantly killed yesterday afternoon at Pensacola, Fla., when a naval training plane he was flying crashed from an altitude of 800 feet.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph W. Groves, of Webster City.

He had been promoted a week ago from ensign to lieutenant. Naval authorities said he was flying in formation. He carried no passenger.

Cause Not Determined

Suddenly his plane dropped out of formation and crashed, Lieutenant Groves being thrown clear of the wreckage. The cause of the crash has not been determined by naval investigators.

Lieutenant Groves’ sister, Miss Caroline, who has been visiting in Pensacola, wired her parents immediately, but they were in Des Moines and did not know of the tragedy until late last evening. If he were buried in a national cemetery it would be with full military honors, but the family requested that burial be made in Webster City and so the body will be sent here, accompanied by Miss Groves and a naval escort.

Funeral Tuesday Morning

Funeral services will be held at 10 a. m. Tuesday at the Foster funeral home with Dr. Effie McCollum Jones officiating.

He is survived by his parents, his sister, his grandmother, Mrs. Alexander Groves, Sr. of this city, and by other relatives and a host of friends.

Alexander Groves was born Sept. 12, 1915, in Webster City where he attended school and was graduated from Lincoln high in 1933. He was salutatorian of his class. He was active in the Boy Scout troop and had received the highest honor ever bestowed on a scout—the bronze, silver and gold palms. No other scout in this city has ever achieved this honor.

Entered Naval Academy

He was appointed to the United States naval academy at Annapolis by former Sen. L. J. Dickinson an entered that school in June after his graduation from high school.

He was graduated from Annapolis in 1937 with the rank of ensign. In the fall he was sent to the United States Asiatic station, being on the light cruiser Marblehead, which was convoy to the marine carrier Chaum.

He had received several citations for bravery in line of duty, one being given him by Admiral H. E Yarnell as follows:

“From, the commander-in-chief of the Asiatic fleet to Ensign Alexander Groves, United States navy, via, commanding officer, U S.S. Marblehead. Subject, Commendation. References, record of proceedings of a board of investigators convened on board the U.S.S. Sacramento Sept. 28, 1938, to inquire into the collision between a Chinese sampan and a U.S S. Marblehead motorboat that occurred Sept. 26, 1938.

Acts in Emergency

“Your conduct on the occasion of a collision between a motor boat of the U.S.S. Marblehead and a sampan in the Whangpoo river, Shanghai, China, on the night of Sept. 26, 1938, has been brought to the attention of the commander-in-chief.

“References disclose that you, while a passenger and senior officer in the said boat had, prior to the collision, been personally looking out ahead for danger; that at the time of the collision you properly assumed charge in the emergency and on noting what appeared to be one of the Chinese occupants of the capsized sampan in the water, you unhesitatingly and with disregard for your own safety courageously dived, while fully clothed, in the darkness into the foul waters of the Whangpoo river with a strong current running, in an effort to save life.

Is Commended.

“The commander-in-chief commends you for your action on the occasion referred to. Such conduct is in keeping with the best traditions of the naval service.

“A copy of this letter will be forwarded to the chief of the bureau of navigation for file with your official record.—H. E. Yarnell.”

Lieutenant Groves had filed application for a transfer for flight training and about the first of this year he was notified of his transfer to the United States naval air station at Pensacola, Fla.

He left Shanghai for the United States, arriving in Webster City about March 1 for a short visit with his parents; He reported for duty in Pensacola March 25.

Passed Difficult Test

Sunday he had wired his parents that he had successfully passed the “33 hour test” which is one of the most difficult of the training course.

His sister, Caroline, who was graduated this spring from Iowa State college, Ames, went to Pensacola July 11 for an extended visit with her brother before she went to Baltimore, Md., to report for intern work in dietetics at Johns Hopkins hospital.

Promising Outlook

Lieutenant Groves was one of Webster City’s most popular and promising young men. During his younger years, he was active in scout work and prominent among the many boys in this organization. All were his friends and all recognized him as a lad of unusual talent. This popularity extended throughout his high school career. He was friendly, but reserved and never boastful of his attainments, which added to his widespread favor among all who knew him. These characteristics also marked his career in the U. S. naval academy in Annapolis. He was widely popular in the service, as he had always been at home among his hosts of friends and among his classmates and naval officers, he was marked by all as one of the most promising young officers graduated from the academy.

His sudden death in the line of duty brings widespread sorrow to Webster City, for he probably had more friends here than any young man of his age. His death brings to a close a promising naval career.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA, August 3, 1940


Body of Lieut. Alexander Groves Arrives From Florida.

The body of Lieut. Alexander Groves, who was killed when his naval training plane crashed Friday at Pensacola, Fla., has been taken to the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Groves northwest of here.

The body arrived this morning and was accompanied by Lieutenant Groves sister, Miss Caroline, who had been visiting at Pensacola, and by a naval escort, Lieut. W. A. H. Howland.

The funeral will be tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Foster funeral home with Dr. Effie McCollum Jones officiating. Burial will be made in Graceland cemetery.

Lieutenant Howland was a classmate of the Webster City man when they were enrolled at the naval academy at Annapolis. Two other classmates arrived here this afternoon for the funeral. They are Lieuts. H. H. Barton and C. R. Doerflinger. All are stationed at Pensacola.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA, August 4, 1940