Navy Memorabilia

Knight, Donald F.

Rank: Machinist Mate 2c
Serial Number: 8230341
Military Branch: USS Bunker Hill CV 17
Origin: Maine
Date of Death: 1945-5-11
Honolulu Memorial
Featured: No

MM2c Donald Knight was born in November, 1922 in Bath, Maine. He enlisted in Portland, Maine, 15 June 1943. At the time of his death, he was married to his wife, Mary Jane,and had a daughter, Donna. His assignment to the Bunker Hill would lead to his untimely death as described below. This group includes Knight's posthumous officially engraved Type 2 Purple Heart and its short titled case in the original registered mail shipping box that was sent to his wife. A 5×8 photo of Knight and a MM2c rate patch dated 1943 are included.


On the morning of 11 May 1945, while participating in the invasion of Okinawa, two Japanese “Kamikaze” suicide planes hit the Bunker Hill. Major gasoline fires burned out of control and several explosions tore through the ship. The Bunker Hill was on fire, listing and heavily damaged. But even though the situation looked hopeless, the brave crew refused to give up on their ship. After fighting the fires for several hours, the crew gradually began to bring the situation under control. The loss of life, though, was staggering: 346 men were killed, 43 were missing and presumed dead, and 264 were wounded, many of them badly burned. But the ship remained afloat and, remarkably, was able to make it back to Bremerton for repairs under her own power. This incident showed how much punishment an Essex Class carrier could take and still remain afloat.

Spring 2022 sold to a collector. 

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