Navy Memorabilia

Craig, Harold C.

Rank: Hospital Apprentice 1st Class
Serial Number: 8607111
Military Branch: United States Navy
Origin: Michigan
Date of Death: 1944-8-2
Battle Creek Memorial
Featured: No

This is an incredible group to a regular Navy Hospital Apprentice that was attached to the Marines and was killed during the invasion of Tinian while serving at a field aid station. The group consists of HA1 Craig's beautifully engraved posthumous type 1 Purple Heart with its purple coffin style box as made by the US Mint, Victory medal, Asia/Pacific medal, American Campaign medal, 2nd Marine Division patch, and 2 HA2 rank patches.

Many copies of newspaper articles accompany this group. The notice of Craig's death was posted in the Battle Creek Enquirer and News dated Sept 8, 1944. That is where Craig's photo was published. The notice said in part: "Five yards from his own foxhole, and while on guard duty at his aid station in the Saipan area, Harold C. Craig, 20, a Navy hospital attendant, first class, assigned to the Marine Corps, former Lakeview athelete, was instantly killed August 2 in the first volley of a Jap attack on his base. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Craig, his parents received details of the action in a letter yesterday from his foxhole companion, Lieut. Delmar V. Hughes of New York state, who witnessed his death and was among those who ran to his assistance. Lieutenant Hughes was the doctor in charge of the aid station in which young Craig served." The letter from Hughes apparently arrived before official notification.

I have been in contact with Delmar Hughes' nephew, Greg Acken, through the US Militaria Forum website, and he has emailed pictures that were in his uncle's WW2 photo album, which will be included here. They include pictures of Delmar Hughes and gravesite pictures for Craig on Tinian.

On the morning of 24 July 1944 the 2nd and 4th Marine divisions commanded by Marine Major General Harry Schmidt landed on Tinian, opposed by 9,162 Japanese. 415 amphibious vehicles were used to bring the troops ashore. A diversionary feint landing at Tinian Town fooled the Japanese and split their forces while the Marines actually came ashore in mass at White Beach. Against light opposition, the Marines established a beachhead two miles wide and a mile deep by the end of the first day. A Japanese counterattack failed, costing them 1,241 men in an attempt to push the Marines off the beach.

Tinian's unusually flat, rolling terrain was favorable to a rapid advance by infantry and tanks, and the disorganized Japanese did not manage to solidify a defense line. Gains continued, including capture of Mt. Lasso, the islands highest point, until the arrival of a typhoon on 29 July disrupted the advance and stopped supplies coming from Saipan for a few days.

During the night of 31 July, with only the southern tip of Tinian still controlled by the Japanese, their survivors mounted a suicidal counterattack. The Japanese rushed the Marine lines three times during the night but did not break through. At dawn over one hundred enemy dead were discovered. On the evening of 1 August, General Schmidt declared the island secure. 542 more Japanese soldiers were flushed out of hiding on Tinian by the end of 1944. Obviously, as Craig's death suggests, the fighting continued beyond August 1.

The nine-day battle for Tinian cost the Marine Corps infantry and Army artillery units 328 killed and 1,571 wounded. The island proved to be the best air base in the Pacific and soon B-29s commenced raids of the Japanese home islands from new airstrips on Tinian.

For a memorial list of Corpsman killed in action, go to

SOLD to a collector 04-2021 

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