Bert’s Navy

Bert’s Navy

Written by: Leo Lawton

October 12, 2022

Lloyd Burton Lawton (Bert)July 13, 1927—June 11, 1994

Bert may have died many years ago, but he is far from forgotten in the annals of time. Hardly a day passes that I don’t think about him. When Bert started farming in 1949, on a five year leased farm, I, as an 11-year-old, went to “work” for him and Gina his wife. At the time Bert was operating a dairy farm as well as working at the GLF (Grange League Federation) Feed and Farm Supply store in Heuvelton, NY. Later the GLF became the Agway store.

On this day I want to tell a little of what I know of Bert’s career in the United States Navy. I obviously was not there so I know but a small part of what his life was like during those hard dreary days served during the period of WW II. I do remember him coming home from his job in Watertown, NY one bright summer day in 1944. I was six years old then, while Bert had just turned seventeen. Our mother was working in the garden. She spent many hours in summer repetitiously weeding those tender plants to supply our family with vegetables all through the winter. As Bert climbed off his Whizzer motorbike it seemed odd that he was home in midweek. He walked to the garden, with me tagging along behind, so he could tell mother the news that he had joined the Navy. I thought it a great idea and didn’t understand why our mother began crying. I had never seen her cry, much less at good news like Bert was going to work for the Navy on ships and stuff. Today I think mother looked at things differently than I as her first-born headed off to war. Soon he was gone, not to return home again for more than two years. At least some of that period was spent aboard a United States Navy ship named the USS Bennion (DD-662), a Navy Destroyer. The ship fought as a part of the Pacific Fleet through the “Island Campaign” war in the Pacific.

For those family members who may have an interest, I have a booklet titled “The Story of the Bennion DD 662.” It relates the story of the Bennion’s tales of battle during those harrowing, horrendous days of sea power battles during the second world war. On page 109 can be found, among a list of the ship’s crew, Lawton, Lloyd B. F1c (EM).It means that he was a Fireman first class working as an Electrician’s Mate.