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The U.S. Navy at White Rock Lake

In 1922 the United States Naval Reserve established a training station at White Rock Lake. Described by a newspaper reporter as "one of the neatest and attractive structures on the shores of the lake," the station consisted of "a drill hall, 50 x 50 feet, a gearhouse, and dockroom for five cutters" (although the White Rock reservists may never have had more than three of these large boats at any one time). The precise location of the station is uncertain but some slight evidence suggests it may have been at the northern end of the lake, in the vicinty of the present-day boat clubs. How long the station lasted is equally unsure but it was probably gone by the mid-1930s. The latest mention of it in a Dallas newspaper was in July 1931.

The 150-man unit was originally commanded by Lt. Carl Hilton. After being placed on active duty with the Navy, Hilton was succeeded in 1924 by Lt. Jack S. DuNelman. Sometime before 1929, DuNelman was succeeded by Lt. H. Bascom Thomas.

Throughout the year the reservists could be seen on the lake in their cutters, receiving instruction in seamanship. These 31-man lug-rigged cutters may have been the very first vessels that had official permission to ply the waters of White Rock Lake.

Each year the reservists spent two weeks aboard a U.S. Navy vessel at sea, generally operating in the Gulf of Mexico and/or Caribbean Sea. In August 1929, forty-seven Dallas sailors (along with 5 officers and a press correspondent) took a cruise aboard the U.S.S. Mahan to Havana, Cuba. The Dallas Morning News of August 8, 1929 identified them as:

  1. Lt. H. Bascom Thomas, Commander
  2. Lt. J. P. Hillyard
  3. Lt. D. D. Wood
  4. Lt. J. L. Gadberry
  5. Ensign Lawrence McElwee
  6. Dallas Morning News correspondent Ted Dealey
  7. Seaman H. E. "Hub" Issacks
  8. Seaman Sam G. Barnes
  9. Seaman Ed Epham
  10. Seaman R. E. Foster
  11. Seaman L. D. Campbell
  12. Seaman C. B. Reed
  13. Seaman H. E. Hudspeth
  14. Seaman O. Moye
  15. Seaman R. M. Eidson
  16. Seaman J. F. Pierce
  17. Seaman R. E. Blye
  18. Seaman J. Larocca
  19. Seaman R. Wray
  20. Seaman A. B. Merritt
  21. Seaman C. E. Whitus
  22. Seaman A. M. Cole
  23. Seaman T. M. Miers
  24. Seaman R. A. Robinson
  25. Seaman F. W. Phillip
  26. Seaman F. Bozeman
  27. Seaman J. W. Calder
  28. Seaman L. Haskell
  29. Seaman E. C. Williams
  30. Seaman L. E. Bassett
  31. Seaman H. D. Parsons
  32. Seaman S. A. Tubbs
  33. Seaman L. T. Mundy
  34. Seaman W. L. Hall
  35. Seaman V. D. Ingram
  36. Seaman C. E. Marth
  37. Seaman F. W. Garner
  38. Seaman W. A. Eubanks
  39. Seaman J. C. Goswick
  40. Seaman N. Huddleston
  41. Seaman O. E. McAlester
  42. Seaman J. B. Stagner
  43. Seaman J. W. Atwood
  44. Seaman A. R. Flowers
  45. Seaman J. M. Robinson
  46. Seaman T. M. Dees
  47. Seaman R. J. Mays
  48. Seaman W. E. Weaver
  49. Seaman R. O. Dietrich
  50. Seaman J. C. Moore
  51. Seaman J. A. Hamilton
  52. Seaman J. J. Stein
  53. Seaman R. N. Roper

Sources: Dallas Morning News, May 24 & 26, June 16, November 2, and December 1, 1924, February 14, 1928, August 11, 1929, February 27, 1930 and July 15, 1931.

Copyright © 1997-2011 by Steven Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.