Yeoman 2nd Class - WAVES Shirley Crawford Name : Shirley Crawford
Rate : Yeoman 2nd Class
Branche : WAVES
Service : United States Navy
Entered Service from : Rhode Island
Date of Birth : 4 July 1924
Awards : Good Conduct
Victory Medal

Shirley Crawford's Story ...

I was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. My parents were Edward Andrew Starsoneck and Gladys (Warburton) Starsoneck. I have one older brother, Edward Harold. I don't remember much about grammar school, but I went to Joseph Jenks Junior High and graduated from West Pawtucket High School. In those days college for women was generally to prepare them to be nurses or teachers. Neither of those careers fit what I wanted for a future and college was not really an option anyway.

West Pawtucket High School

I took business courses, including shorthand and typing, in high school. After high school I enrolled at a Felt and Tarrant school in Providence, Rhode Island, to learn to operate a comptometer. The Felt and Tarrant Company offered a placement service to help their graduates to obtain employment. Through that service I got a job at Anaconda Wire and Cable in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where I worked for two years. July 4, 1944, was my 20th birthday, the day I became eligible to join the war effort without parental consent.


                            the Comptometer            The Felt and Tarrant Company

The next day, July 5, I was sworn into the Navy as a WAVE. Shortly thereafter I found myself in Basic Training at Hunter College in New York. At the end of six weeks and a battery of tests to determine abilities, I was sent to Yeoman School at Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The whole college was taken over by the WAVES. There I learned Navy protocol for correspondence and increased my shorthand and typing abilities. Because this was volunteer service, I had the opportunity to state where I wanted to serve after completing my training in Oklahoma. My first choice was California and my second was Florida. The Navy wanted me to be closer to home, so they gave me my second choice. I got orders to Jacksonville Naval Air Station, where I did office work in a building called Assembly and Repair.

WAVES in the low pressure chamber at NAS Jacksonville

The Naval Air Station at Jacksonville had dances featuring big bands and orchestras. Of course, my roommates and I participated. It was at one of these dances in 1945 that Harley Crawford, a sailor from Stockton, California, asked me to dance. Somebody else cut in, but Harley was soon back. He asked to walk me home and made a date to go out the next day. We saw one another several times before Harley received orders to go to Hawaii, while I remained in Jacksonville.

WAVES and sailors dancing ...

In March of 1946, one of my roommates learned from her boss that a couple of jobs for WAVES were available at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington D. C. I applied and was selected. Off to Washington I went to begin another adventure. At the end of the war I was given the opportunity to extend or be discharged. Since I had been in the Navy for two years and war was over, I decided I had had enough. I was discharged in Washington D.C. and returned to Rhode Island to live with my parents.

Yeoman 2nd Class - Shirley Starsoneck

In March 1946, Harley was discharged in Hawaii and returned to California. He and I continued our long-distance relationship. My father's sister lived in San Jose, California, and I was able to arrange to live with her. Harley and his parents were living in Santa Rosa, and he came to visit me. The second time he came, he brought me an engagement ring. Since it was over a hundred miles between Santa Rosa and San Jose, Harley couldn't make the trip often. His parents invited me to live with them, so I packed up and moved to Santa Rosa. I lived with Harley's family for a couple of months, while we looked for a place to rent. Rentals were scarce after the war with so many veterans returning to civilian life. Eventually we found a place to rent and set a date to be married, January 25, 1947. Next year Harley and I will have been married for sixty years, and we still live in Santa Rosa. I have spent the rest of my career as a homemaker and mother of two sons, Gregg and Keith.

Harley and Shirley Crawford ... together at last

Since Harley's retirement in 1981 Harley and I have done a lot of world travel-Europe, Central America, New Zealand, and Australia. Our last trip was to France. While we were in Paris, Harley made a trip to Belgium to visit the grave of his brother, Charles Maurice Crawford, who was killed at age 19 in the Ardennes on 2 December 1944. He is buried at Henri-Chapelle.

Harley's brother Maurice's final resting place in Belgium

Besides my story you can read the story of my husband Harley (Crawford) in this same "veteran"-section. The story of my brother-in-law, Charles Maurice Crawford can be found in the "Buried at Henri-Chapelle"-section.

Special thanks to Shirley Crawford and Jean Woolley
published May 14, 2006