Guthrie County

Estel Ray McClellan




Estel McClellan Drowns Sunday Overseas

The tragedy of war struck the Bayard community for the fourth time Monday afternoon when Mrs. Evah McClellan received an official telegram from the Navy department telling her that her son, Estel Ray McClellan, machinists mate second class, had drowned as a result of an accident Sunday.  He had been in North Ireland when he last wrote home.

Following is a copy of the telegram:
Washington D.C., April 17, 1944

Mrs. Evah Lucille McClellan
Box 95, Bayard, Iowa
 The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you of the accidental death of your son, Estel Ray McClellan, machinists mate second class, USN, as a result of drowning on 16 April 1944 while in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country.  The remains have been interred in allied territory outside the Continental Limits of the United States pending cessation of hostilities. To prevent possible aid to our enemies please do not divulge the name of his ship or station. The Navy Department extends to you its sincerest sympathy in your great sorrow.
Vice Admiral, Randal Jacobs
Chief of Naval Personnel

McClellan, who was 22 years old last Dec. 7, enlisted in the Navy June 10, 1941, and he had not been home since August 1941 when he spent his boot leave from Great Lakes to Bayard.  Before embarking for overseas in February 1942 he attended a Navy trade school in San Diego, Calif.  He earned his presenting rating last September.

Estel quit school his junior year at the Bayard high school and joined the CCCs where he spent two years. Besides his mother, he is survived by three sisters and two brothers.  They are Mrs. William Malcom of Des Moines and Charlotte, Jim, Pauline and Don, all at home.

The last letter Mrs. McClellan had from Estel was written April 5, and she reports that he was particularly cheerful in the message he sent.  He told her that he was working ten hours a day, seven days a week, but he didn’t mind because he felt that the harder he worked the sooner the war would be over and he could come home. He mentioned that they were having lots of fun in connection with their work and it was not drudgery at all. 

Others from Bayard who have been killed in this war are Stewart Pennington, Gerald Grove and Jack Stiles.

Source: The Bayard News (Bayard, Iowa), Thursday, April 20, 1944 (photo included)