World War II Central Illinois Stories

Oral history interview with Robert Hamm


His son, Don Hamm, said his dad was in the Navy and served aboard the USS Franklin. He was an engineer in the boiler room about 9 flights down in the bottom of the ship. The ship was bombed about 50 miles off the coast of Japan. It was loaded with bombs and fuel when kamikaze pilots attacked. The fuel blew, the bombs blew, and Hamm was trapped in the bottom of the ship. It was dark and water was coming in. He and some men made it out, but many men were lost. He removed duct work and crawled through the spaces to save himself.