Clarence Earl McBride
Dates of Service: 12/1941 - 3/27/1945
Birth Date: 3/10/1883
Death Date: 12/14/1964
Born in California on March 10, 1883, Clarence McBride enlisted in the navy shortly after the beginning of the 20th century. The outbreak of World War I found him serving as a boatswain’s mate in the destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-81). Among the first naval units sent to European waters, Jacob Jones was based at Queenstown, Northern Ireland. The ship was mainly employed guarding convoys against German U-boats in the waters around Great Britain. On December 6, 1917, while returning from a French port, Jacob Jones was torpedoed by German submarine U-53 and abandoned when her depth charges exploded. After spending the night in the waters off the Scilly Isles, British vessels rescued McBride and 37 other survivors. He was warranted a boatswain on July 23, 1918 and ordered to duty in the Washington Navy Yard. From 1922 to 1925, he was assigned to the collier Orion (AC-11), supplying coal to fleet units in the Atlantic and Caribbean. He then had duty in the Reina Mercedes (IX-25), a prize from the Spanish American War used to house enlisted staff at the Naval Academy and as a place of confinement for unruly midshipmen. McBride next served in the minesweeper Owl (AM-2), employed chiefly in towing vessels up and down the East Coast. He was ashore at naval air stations for four years after 1930, then had two years service in the light cruiser Marblehead (CL-12) in the Pacific Fleet, and finally, nearly two years in the miscellaneous auxiliary Antares (AG-10) before retiring on August 1, 1939 as a Chief Warrant Boatswain.
At the outbreak of World War II, McBride was recalled to active duty and became commanding officer of Constitution, the only retired officer, to date, so assigned. During the war years, the ship was housed over and her upper masts sent down to reduce maintenance. She served as the place of confinement for officers awaiting courts-martial.
McBride was detached from the old frigate on March 27, 1945. The war was winding down and a more senior officer could be placed aboard. He remained in Massachusetts in his second retirement and died on December 14, 1964.
Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command