Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last Razorback Plankowner Officer Passes Away

Lawrence Bruce Crann died on Sunday, February 27th in Mount Vernon, VA. He was 94.

As a Lieutenant (Junior Grade), he served aboard Razorback during World War II. He was assigned to Razorback before she was commissioned, making him a "Plankowner".

The term "plankowner" dates back to the days of wooden warships. By being part of the original crew, a Sailor had bragging rights to "owning" one of the planks on the main deck. When a ship was decommissioned, a Plankowner (or his widow) could request a piece of the deck as a memento.

When a ship is commissioned, a plaque is made listing the names of all the "plankower" officers. This plaque stays on the ship until the last "plankowner" leaves, then it is given to him. As the officers pass away, the plaque is supposed to be then passed to the next younger officer, if he or she can be located. In Razorback's case, the plaque was donated to AIMM shortly after the museum was established. It is now on display in the museum.

LT(jg) Crann made all five war patrols and was present aboard Razorback in Tokyo Bay when the surrender was signed.
LT Crann also donated his personal uniform to the museum shortly after it opened. It is also on display.

The photograph shows Razorback's officers on the day she was commissioned. The officers are (l-r):
  • LT R. L. Smith, USNR
  • LT R. S. Thompson, USNR
  • LT(jg) J. H. King, USN(T)
  • LT J. L. Haines, USN
  • LCDR A. M. Bontier, USN, Commanding Officer
  • LT(jg) A. R. Hersh, Jr., USN
  • LT(jg) L. B. Crann, USNR
  • ENS L. T. Adains, USNR
A link to LT Crann's online obituary can be found here.

LT Crann was able to be in North Little Rock in 2004, when Razorback arrived. His daughter informs us that he wore his Razorback ball cap every day during the last year of his life, and that one of his last requests was to die with his cap on, which he did.

Please join AIMM in wishing LT Crann's family all the best in this most difficult time.


Blogger rdnwen said...

For almost 64 years you were my Daddy and my hero. Now you are in heaven with Mom watching over us. I will never forget your wonderful sense of humor and unselfish love for your family.

I also remember with pride the trip we took to North Little Rock to see and tour the Razorback when you were 88.

6:11 PM  

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