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Irving Reynolds Chambers

Irving R Chambers
Irving R Chambers

Irving Reynolds Chambers was born December 20, 1893 to Captain and Mrs Washington Irving Chambers. Washington Irving retired an Admiral.

The family was reasonably affluent and little Irving attended the Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, NY, a private school, where in first grade he was awarded the Penmanship Prize that made the newspapers locally. After completion of his basic elementary and high school education he obtained a late appointment to the Naval Academy.

The newspaper reads; "September 03, 1910; Three New Middies; Annapolis, Sept 2. Three candidates were sworn in as an addition to the fourth class at the Naval Academy this morning. They are Irving R. Chambers, Washington DC; Haldan T. Dickinson, Glasgow KY and Philip A. Weaver, Newport RI."

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on June 4, 1915. He was ranked number 131 in his class by his grades. He was classmates with the future Admirals Scott Umsted and Ralph Christie. The speaker at the graduation was Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

Once a midshipman was graduated they could marry and that some point he did just that and married the former Kathryn Slifer.

On September 9, 1918 he was appointed a Lieutenant. June 1920 Chambers was given command of the USS O-5 and operated out of the Submarine School at New London, Conn. Training future submariners and testing processes and procedures.

September 26/27, 1921 he was the commanding officer of the USS R-6 when it suddenly sank in the outer harbor of San Pedro, California while moored in a nest of other submarines all moored to the Tender Camden.

Two men died in the sinking. Chambers was the last man to exit the submarine and while in the water began going to the assistance of crew who could not swim or were injured. An inner door on the aft end of one of the torpedo tubes failed and flooded the submarine while crew was working on torpedoes getting them ready for practice firings the next day.

March 24, 1922; LT Irving R. Chambers was ordered to new construction as a prospective commanding officer and was ordered to take command upon commissioning of the USS S-31. In December of 1922 Chambers was the commissioning officer of the USS S-33.

On July 20, 1929 Irving R. Chambers, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy and his wife rented a garden apartment at Jackson Heights, Cedar Court was reported in the newspapers.

He took command of the USS Winslow (DD-359/AG-127) on February 17, 1937 and remained in command until Jun 9 1939.

In July of 1942 Captain Chambers took command of the light cruiser Concord (CL-10) and transferred command a year and a half later to CAPT O.C. Laird on December 16, 1943. During this time the Concord was assigned to the Southeast Pacific Force, she escorted convoys to Bora Bora in the Society Islands, exercised in the Canal Zone, and cruised along the coast of South America and to the islands of the southeast Pacific, serving from time to time as flagship of her force. Between September 5 and November 24, 1943, she carried Rear Admiral R. E. Byrd on a tour to survey the potential use of a number of southeast Pacific islands in national defense and commercial aviation. During this cruise, she suffered an aviation gasoline explosion which killed 22 men, including her executive officer, and caused considerable damage, which was repaired at Balboa. After the war Chambers retired as a Captain.

Mrs. Kathryn Slifer Chambers died at Stony Brook, Long Island, on June 7, 1947. She was the wife of Captain Irving R. Chambers, formerly of this city. The funeral was held from the Carolyn Episcopal Church at Setauket, L. I., on Monday. Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Irving Reynolds Chambers died on September. 24, 1979. Both are buried at Arlington National Cemetery Plot: Section 3 Site 3945-B

Photo Courtesy of the Monroe County Library Collection

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