Collection number: MC 264
Size: 2 boxes (0.66 cu.ft.)
About George Laderbush (1923-1944)
George Robert Laderbush was born June 26, 1923 in Greenland, NH, the eighth of eleven children born to Albert and Stella Laderbush. He attended St. Patrick's Catholic School, where he played basketball on the school's team. He graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1941. After graduation, he worked for a time at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He entered the US Navy and trained as a torpedoman in Newport, Rhode Island before shipping off for active duty aboard the USS Flier. He served as a Torpedoman's Mate, Second Class in the Pacific Fleet and spent time in California, Hawaii, Australia, and Midway Island. On August 13, 1944, while making their way toward an enemy convoy in the South China Sea, the Flier hit a mine and sank. Forteen men survived the initial blast and sinking, though only eight made it to land and were eventually rescued. Seventy-eight men, including Laderbush, were killed. Citing the need to keep survivors safe, the Navy kept details of the disaster hidden from the public, listing the submarine only as having seen "recent action" in their official reports and press releases. George Laderbush and the other men who died were listed as "missing in action," until they were official declared "killed in action" on January 19, 1946.
George Laderbush was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart in "recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country."
About the George Laderbush Papers
This collection contains a mix of correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and documents relating to George Laderbush's death and the sinking of the USS Flier. The correspondence is mainly between members of the Laderbush family, primarily the eleven siblings. The photographs are mostly miscellaneous family photographs, including several of George and his brother Harry in uniform with other members of the family. Because every effort has been made to maintain the original order in which the family had arranged the documents, all papers relating to George Laderbush's death are housed together in one folder. These papers include: letters from the captain of the Flier, Commander John D. Crowley, to the Laderbush family about the sinking of the submarine; newspaper clippings from the press coverage of the event; some of the family's notes about the timeline of the intervening years between the sinking of the Flier and the official declaration of George's death; and the final letter that George wrote home before he left on his last patrol.
This collection is open.
Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.
[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], George Laderbush Papers, 1931-2010, MC 264, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.
Donation: Marga Coulp, August 26, 2014 (Accession number: 2014.11)
See also: Harry Dufresne Papers, MC 118
Materials are arranged by type, then by chronology: papers first, photographs second, and compiled scrapbooks third. Oversized materials are located in a second box on the oversize shelves. Papers related to George Laderbush's life are in the first three folders, death in the fourth and fifth, and the legacy of the USS Flier in the sixth.
|Box 1, Folder 1||Correspondence, 1941-1947
and undated (8 letters)
Several letters between Cora Laderbush and her siblings; holiday letter from George Laderbush to the Dufresne family sent in 1942 from Newport, RI where he was training in Torpedo School with the US Navy; letter from George sent from the USS Flier, undated; several letters regarding a divorce between Mr. and Mrs. R.R. Holley in 1947
|Box 1, Folder 2||Composition book containing a list of books read by George Laderbush, 1931-1940|
|Box 1, Folder 3||Portsmouth High School diploma, June 1941; Navy Department, Bureau of Navigation Service Schools, Torpedo School certificate, April 1943|
|Box 1, Folder 4||Papers relating to George Laderbush's death:|
|Box 1, Folder 5||Memorial plaque presented to the Laderbush family from the city of Portsmouth in recognition of George Laderbush's service and death, May 1947|
|Box 1, Folder 6||Papers relating to the finding of the wreckage of the USS Flier in 2010:|
|Box 1, Folder 7||Miscellaneous photographs|
|Box 1, Folder 8||Scrapbook kept in the 1930s by Cora (sister): contains newspaper clippings, business cards, train timetables, letters and postcards, and some pictures|
|Box 1, Folder 9||Scrapbook kept in the 1930s by Cora (sister): contains newspaper clippings, business cards, train timetables, letters and postcards, and some pictures|
|Oversize Box 1|
|Oversize Box 1, Item 1||Purple Heart medal, and several other medals and awards for service|
|Oversize Box 1, Item 2||Certificate given with the Purple Heart in recognition of the award and the sacrifice it represents|
|Oversize Box 1, Item 3||Letter from Harry S. Truman presented with the Purple heart|
|Oversize Box 1, Item 4||Oversized photograph: George Laderbush and the 12th Batallion Torpedomen at the US Navy Training School, Newport, RI, undated, names and addresses of everyone pictured are handwritten on the back|
|Oversize Box 1, Item 5||Oversized photograph: George Laderbush and his class at the US Navy Training School, Newport, RI, undated|