Clifford Nathan Olds

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Clifford Nathan Olds

Also Known As: "16 days to die"
Birthplace: Stanton Mercer County North Dakota
Death: December 23, 1941 (19-20)
Pearl Harbor, Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States (suffocated aboard the USS West Virginia)
Place of Burial: Stanton Cemetery Stanton Mercer County North Dakota
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathan "Nate" John Olds and Jane Olds
Brother of Bernice Leinius

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Clifford Nathan Olds

Clifford Olds was aboard the USS West Virginia when she partially sank during the attack of Pearl harbor. The day after the attack, crewmen realised that there was an eerie banging noise coming from the forward hull. Inside compartment A-119, three men were trapped.

Cutting through the side of the hull for rescue was out of the question. The smallest hole in a pressuized compartment would cause a "blow out". All sailors know they are expendable after the water tight doors are sealed.

Late spring 1942, Navy salvage teams started work on the West Virginia after being put into dry dock. A salvage party entered into a dry compartment littered with flashlight batteries and empty ration cans on the floor. A manhole cover to a fresh water supply was opened. He noticed a calendar marked with big red X's that ended Dec 23.

The US Navy had never told their families how long the three men had survived for, instead telling them that they had been killed in the attack.

Survivors say that no one wanted to go on guard duty anywhere near the USS West Virginia since they would hear the banging of trapped survivors all night long, but with nothing that could be done.

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Clifford Nathan Olds's Timeline

Stanton Mercer County North Dakota
December 23, 1941
Age 20
Pearl Harbor, Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States
Stanton Cemetery Stanton Mercer County North Dakota