PRIVATE FIRST CLASS HARRY CLARK MORRISEY was born on October 8, 1915 to Charles and Clara Morrissey in New Hampshire. He was the second child, brother Charles being two years older. The family moved to Rhode Island, where sister Pearl was born in 1921, before moving to Camden NJ. At the time of the 1930 census, the family was renting a home at 123 North 21st Street in Camden NJ, where Charles Morrissey worked as a laborer at the RCA-Victor plant, and Clara Morrissey also worked as a stitcher in a factory. The family later moved to 577 Mickle Street in Camden NJ. This house is no longer standing, and the site is now occupied by Camden's Ronald McDonald House. By the time the census was taken in 1940, the Morrisey family had moved to 2730 Pleasant Street in East Camden. His parents were still at that address in the fall of 1942.
Harry Clark Morrissey enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in on September 4, 1940 and was sent to Parris Island, South Carolina to train with the First Recruit Battalion. Also training with Harry Clark Morrissey was Joseph P. Bonk, of 1333 Proncess Avenue in Camden. They both completed basic training in November and were assigned to Provisional Company K. This unit, part of the First Marine Brigade, was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for training, where they were stationed at the end of 1940. This unit was redesignated Company B, First Battalion, Seventh Marines. In the month of January Private Morrissey qualified for the Marine Corps Marksmanship Badge and took part in Flanex #7, a rehearsed amphibious landing that took place on the island of Culebra, off Puerto Rico.
The April 1941 Marine Corps muster roll for Company B, Seventh Marines shows that Harry Clark Morrissey and his unit had returned from Cuba and were then stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. The July 1941 Muster Roll shows Private Morrissey aboard the USS Fuller (APA-7), a Heywood-class attack transport stationed at Norfolk, Virginia then providing Marine training off the North Carolina coast. The October 1941 muster roll shows Private Morrisey and his unit stationed at the Marine Barracks at New River, North Carolina. The January 1942 muster roll shows that Harry Clark Morrissey had been promoted to Private First Class, as had Joseph P. Bonk. The Seventh Marines were still stationed at the New River Marine barracks. Another Camden County man, Joseph Kobby of Gloucester City, joined B Company shortly afterwards.
On April 10, 1942 elements of the Seventh Marines, including Harry C. Morrissey's B Company departed from Norfolk, Virginia in route to Wellington, New Zealand aboard the USS Fuller (APA-7), arriving in Wellington on May 22. The Seventh Marines did not take part in the original assault on Guadalcanal. They landed on September 18, 1942 and went into action shortly thereafter.
First Class Harry Clark Morrissey was killed in action on Guadalcanal
around noon of
October 9, 1942, during the fighting that took place west of the
Matanikau River. He was buried in the field along with Private First
Class Francis E. Drake and Private Albert LeRoy Bernes, both of C
Company, First Battalion, Seventh Marines. Private Joseph P. Bonk was
also wounded on Guadalcanal, was evacuated, and returned to active duty
in 1943, serving out the war in Philadelphia and Washington DC.
Harry Clark Morrisey's brother, Charles R. Morrissey, who had been inducted into the United States Army in 1941, went overseas as a Staff Sergeant with the 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, was wounded, taken prisoner, and died in a German POW camp on March 6, 1945.
The body of Harry Clark Morrissey was not recovered for 71 years. He was memorialized at Fort William McKinley, Manila, Philippine Islands, and at the Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly NJ. The brothers were survived by their parents, and sister, Miss Pearl Morrissey. Clara Morrissey passed away on January 18, 1949 at the home of her daughter at 1289 Dayton Street in Camden. Charles Morrissey lived until December of 1976, passing on in Phoenix AZ.
On October 9, 2013, the 71st anniversary of the deaths of Harry Clark Morrissey, Francis E. Drake and Albert L. Bernes, their remains were located when the owner of the land where they were buried in 1942 II found them while digging to pour a foundation in his yard. Only the dog-tag of Francis Drake was found for identification but records show the three were buried together. As of this writing, positive identification has not been made. The three sets of remains have been sent to Hawaii for cleaning, processing, and identification.
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