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Ensign John Charles England

In Memoriam Condolences

Ensign John Charles England In Memoriam
December 11, 1920 - December 7, 1941 Ensign John Charles England perished aboard the Battleship USS Oklahoma on the morning of December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, HI. Ensign England had been buried in an unknown's grave in Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii. He has been identified in recent years and on August 13, 2016, was buried with Full Navy Honors next to his parents, Sam and Thelma England, in the Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO. Ensign England was born on December 11, 1920, in Harris, MO, spent time in Oklahoma, and then settled in Alhambra. He attended Ramona Grammar School and later Alhambra High School, where he was both a yell leader and the 1938 Class President. While attending the Pasadena City College, he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve as an Apprentice Seaman on September 6, 1940. After active duty training on board the USS New York and completion of Naval Reserve Midshipman's School, in June of 1941, he was commissioned as a Navy Ensign. Subsequent to completion of the Communication Officers Course at the Naval Radio School in Norton Heights, CT, in September of 1941, he reported for duty aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. Ensign England survived the initial attack on Pearl Harbor and escaped topside as the ship was capsizing and still under attack, with "Abandoned Ship" having been sounded. He remained loyal to his men still in the radio room on a lower deck in a darkened ship about to capsize. He returned three times to the radio room, each time guiding a man to safety. He left to go back below deck for the fourth time and was never seen again. Ensign England's gallant effort saved at least three men, but cost him his life. Two ships have been named after Ensign England: The USS England DE-635 in 1944, which set a record still unsurpassed for the sinking of six enemy submarines in a two week period, and The USS England DLG-22 in 1963, which served with distinction during the Vietnam War, as well as a barracks at the Naval Base in Great Lakes, IL. Alhambra High School continues to honor Ensign England by presenting one student per year with the J.C. England award for extraordinary citizenship. He is survived by his granddaughters, Bethany Glenn and Lisa Osgard; a niece, Katy Bemiss; and two great-grandsons, Jake Osgard and Casey McDougall. His daughter, Victoria Louise England, who was one month old at the time of his death and whom he never met, and his parents died in the years since Ensign England's death. In a moving private ceremony before the full military services, his daughter was reunited with her father, and they are now interred for eternity with his parents. In addition to Full Military Honors, the Colorado Springs Police and the Patriot Guard Riders were among the many entities present and participating in both an impressive motorcade and the services. Both the Discovery and National Geographic Channels were present, gathering information and footage for the upcoming 75th Anniversary coverage of the Pearl Harbor attack. "Ensign England gave his life for his country and for his shipmates." Arrangements by The Springs Funeral Services, Colorado Springs, CO; www.tsfs.co
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 21, 2016
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