A WWII submariner’s foot locker

Someplace just to show that reel collectors do have a life
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Mike N
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A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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I was walking around an outdoor antiques fair today with my son in Washington, Pa when we both noticed a neat painting of a submarine on a foot locker. The submariner’s name “Bartolozzi, R.R” is printed just above it and also appears inside on a piece of the uniform. My father was retired Army and I’m familiar with those ranks, but I’m not quite sure what the three stripes on the sleeve cuff designate.

The submarine is USS-402, which research indicates was the WW II Balao-class submarine “Sea Fox” which was launched on 28 March 1944 with service in the Pacific under the command of Lt. Commander Roy C. Klinker.

I’m happy to be the temporary caretaker of this treasure, but my ultimate goal would be to donate it to a museum in the sailor’s hometown or give it to a family member. Any ORCA member who can assist in the search efforts would be appreciated.

Mike N.







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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Neat item Mike and nice gesture to attempt to find a family member to whom it should have great significance.

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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That name does not appear on the sailing list for that vessel but perhaps the list is incomplete: http://seafoxss402.homestead.com/Bios.html
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Mike N
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Paul M wrote:That name does not appear on the sailing list for that vessel but perhaps the list is incomplete: http://seafoxss402.homestead.com/Bios.html

Thanks for locating that list, Paul. The basis for believing the vessel was the SS-402 is this blow-up of the artwork on the foot locker.



I think the painting on the box is clearly a submarine. The only other vessel I could find with “402” was a destroyer class, the USS Mayrant, DD-402.

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

Post by charleyb »

Mike,
If all else fails, you might try applying for information at
www. "archives.gov/personnel-records-center/military-personnel"
It takes a few weeks but is a great resource.
Good luck,
Charley

edit on site name, sorry!

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Mike N
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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charleyb wrote:Mike,
If all else fails, you might try applying for information at
www. "archives.gov/personnel-records-center/military-personnel"
It takes a few weeks but is a great resource.
Good luck,
Charley edit on site name, sorry!
Thanks, Charley. I believe you have to be a decedent’s next-of-kin to access veterans records on that government site.

However, on Folio Ancestry.com I was able to find US Navy records of a muster roster of “passengers” on the USS Mizar in December 14, 1943, which included “S1c” rated Ralph R. Bartolozzi who enlisted on 4-27-43 at Pittsburgh, Pa. with a “purpose of travel” as “R/S Navy 134.” Another record notes an enlistment in the Navy from 4 May 1943 to 18 April 1946.

No mention of submarine duty yet. However, inasmuch as the Sea Fox had its maiden launch on 28 March 1944, the dates of enlistment fit.

Now for something really cool— Ralph R. Bartolozzi played minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 1942, then with a break for service in the US Navy from 1943-1946, until he resumed playing pro baseball in again from 1947 to 1951, at which time he was with the Cincinnati Reds organization. He never reached the major leagues.

See photos below.

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Last edited by Mike N on Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Here are R.R Bartolozzi’s minor league baseball stats with time off for military service 1943-1946. Note that he is listed as only 16 years old when he started playing professionally in 1942 (Date of birth 1926).





Last edited by Mike N on Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Ralph Reno Bartolozzi resided in Washington, PA where you found his locker.
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

Post by RonG »

Hey Mike, this is an interesting adventure you're on. Finding the history of an item like the foot locker is always fun. If you haven't already, I'm sure you can find more info on ancestry.com.

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

Post by reelsmith. »

Too cool !

Love the box, the contents and the history of it all you are uncovering.

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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I got onto Ancestry and found a few personal details. One of Ralph Reno Bartolozzi's military record shows he was involved with submarine (maintenance) as a seaman first class, connecting a specific RR Bartolozzi to the locker. His life spanned 8/13/1924 until 08/19/1990. In Sept 1952 at the age of 28, he married Dolores Celachi in VA. He was unemployed at the time. She was 35 years of age and listed as a secretary on the marriage certificate. She passed in 2009 and they are buried together at Mon Valley Memorial Cemetery. She and her family resided in Charleroi, PA where there is/was another Ralph Bartolozzi listed. I don't know if that is/was their son or a grandson. Ralph Reno Bartolozzi did have a sister about the same age.
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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Paul M wrote:I got onto Ancestry and found a few personal details. One of Ralph Reno Bartolozzi's military record shows he was involved with submarine (maintenance) as a seaman first class, connecting a specific RR Bartolozzi to the locker. His life spanned 8/13/1924 until 08/19/1990. In Sept 1952 at the age of 28, he married Dolores Celachi in VA. He was unemployed at the time. She was 35 years of age and listed as a secretary on the marriage certificate. She passed in 2009 and they are buried together at Mon Valley Memorial Cemetery. She and her family resided in Charleroi, PA where there is/was another Ralph Bartolozzi listed. I don't know if that is/was their son or a grandson. Ralph Reno Bartolozzi did have a sister about the same age.
Wow, thanks Paul. I think the best bet is to try find an obituary from a funeral home in the Mon Valley (south of Pittsburgh) that might list next of kin.

The “S1c” rank on the transport ship USS Mizer 1943 muster roster above obviously stands for “seaman first class.”

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Re: A WWII submariner’s foot locker

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Apparently there is an obituary in a local paper that can be ordered but I didn’t place an order. Not sure when I will be able to get back to Ancestry at the library so hopefully someone else will pick it up from here.
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