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Vincent A. Clarke Jr.

Vincent A Clarke jr
Vincent A Clarke jr

Vincent Arthur Clarke, Jr was born in 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to an English born father and New Jersey born mother. His father supported the family as a Real Estate agent in partnership with his brother John. Growing up he aspired to be an engineer but upon graduation from Northeast High School in Philadelphia he acquired an appointment to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and reported there on June 17, 1910.

He was probably an average student and even was placed on probation for falling scores in his studies in 1912.

Clarke graduated in the class of 1914 but had, like a number of other Middy's, to retake his graduation tests to qualify for graduation with the class.

In 1915 Clarke married Miss Charlotte Isabel Rocchietti of New York, while he was attached to the submarine tender USS Fulton AS-1. In 1917 a daughter named Dorothy was born to the couple.

In 1916 upon leaving the Fulton Clarke reported aboard the USS E-1. He later in 1917 became the E-1 Commanding officer. It appears that once war was declared that he transeted aboard the USS L-4 to Ireland where he took command of the USS L-10.

The USS L-10 was operating out of Bantry Bay, Ireland for the duration of the war. This command garnered Clarke a Navy Cross for his persistence in making the L-10 one of the 'hot running boats' in WW I. Racking up over 1700 hours out on patrol in pursuit of the enemy. Bare in mind war patrols in WW I were only an average of 10 days duration due to the subs limits on food and fuel.

After returning the L-10 to the US he was given the pre-launch and commissioning command of the USS R-14. He held the title 'Captain' of the R-14 until May 26, 1921 when he was 'officially' detached to the USS Chicago as the Engineering and Repair Officer working for Submarine Division 14 Commander LCdr. Chester Nimitz. He he had been working in this capacity for a while while the day to day operations of the R-14 were being handled by the Executive Officer, Lt. Alexander Dean Douglas who was in command when the R-14 made her famous 10 day trip with improvised sails into Hilo Harbor.

In 1925 he asked for and was assigned to navy aviation studies and had experiences with airplanes, and blimps and even made the second trip of the German airship Graff Zeppelin across the Atlantic and even wrote and number of articles for newspapers about the trip. He was accompanied by Sir Herbert Wilkins of the 'Wilkins/Ellsworth Trans Arctic Expedition' fame to try and reach the North Pole underwater.

Clarke was then stationed in 1927 to the Navy facilities at Lakehurst, New Jersey as the landing officer for the airship USS Los Angles and later aboard the airship and second in command. In May 1930 he became the Commanding officer of the Los Angles and took her the Herbert Hoover Presidential Review and made live radio broadcasts about the event. He then successfully took the airship to war games at the Panama Canal and returned her to Lakehurst.

In May of 1931 he asked to be transferred to duty in Washington DC and later was posted to the Navy Yard in the San Francisco Bay area when he became ill and was admitted to the Government Hospital at Palo Alto, California and later was transferred to the Naval Hospital in San Francisco with blood poisoning where he succumbed its effects and died on August 10, 1932 at 41 years of age. He left a wife and daughter. His wife Charlotte passed away in 1957.

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