Date of Birth: August 6, 1900
Place of Birth: Ocean Co., New Jersey
Father and Mother’s Names: Theodore and Florence Eve (Applegate) Hyres
Spouse and Children's Names: Helen Margaret (Fitzgerald) Hyres (wife) and Majel Elaine Hyres (daughter).
Date Entered Service: During WWI Hyres enlisted in the Navy from Fort Riley, Kansas. Unclear when he re-enlisted or if he remained in the service until WWII.
Service Branch: Navy - Coast Gaurd
Rank/Specialty: Carpenter's Mate, First Class
Service ID: 501804
Division/Company/Unit info: USCGC-Muskeget (WAG-48), North Atlantic Weather Patrol.
Awards and Commendations: Purple Heart and European, African and Middle Eastern Campaign Medals.
Riley Connection: Lived in Manhattan, Riley Co., KS from 1918-1940
Date of Death (and Age): September 10, 1942 (42 years old) - First listed as MIA (Missing in Action), later declared KIA (Killed in Action).
Place of Death: Died in the North Atlantic when Muskeget was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-Boat U-755.
Grave Location: Body was never recovered. Name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, East Coast Memorial, Manhattan, New York.
Bio: Paul was born August 6, 1900 in Ocean Co., NJ. to Theodore and Florence Hyres. His father was a carpenter and no doubt taught young Paul the trade. Paul was married in Manhattan, Kansas and went to Michigan, then Chicago, Illinois. Also in 1920, Paul was listed as a soldier at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, KS. In 1925, Paul, wife & daughter were listed as living in Manhattan. In 1929, Paul was listed in Buffalo, NY as a Motor Machinist Mate in the Coast Guard. Paul was enumerated in the Manhattan, KS City Census from 1937-1939. In 1940, Paul was listed as a supervisor for a VA Camp in East Saline, Sheridan Co., KS. Paul's wife, Helen, lived at 400 Osage St. in Manhattan, KS at the time of Paul's death. In 1956, she was employed as a clerk for the College Drug Store. On 9/10/1942, Paul was attached to the USCGC-Muskeget (WAG-48), a Navy Weather Ship. Paul's ship was sunk with no survivors. Below is some military information for Paul and his ship followed by an account of the sinking:
US COAST GUARD WORLD WAR II -
Carpenter's Mate 1st Class, Paul H. Hyres MIA/KIA
Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
Ship: USCGC MUSKEGET WAG-48
Captain: Lt. Comander Charles E. Toft
Mission: North Atlantic Weather Patrol Mission
Location: Boston - Iceland
Cause: Torpedoed U-755
Complement: 34 merchant seamen 9 commissioned officers, 107 enlisted men, 1 Public Health Service officer, 4 U.S. Weather Service employees.
Manhattan, New York.
On 30 June 1942, the Navy transferred Muskeget to the United States Coast Guard for service as a weather ship. Commissioned into the Coast Guard as USCGC Muskeget (WAG-48) on 1 July 1942, she was assigned Boston, Massachusetts, as her home port and to duty with the North Atlantic Weather Patrol. Meteorologists used weather balloons launched from her deck to gather data on pressure, winds, temperatures, and humidity to support weather forecasts in support of Allied military operations.
Muskeget departed Boston on 6 July 1942 for her first weather patrol, which took place at Weather Station No. 2 in the North Atlantic Ocean off the southern tip of Greenland. She concluded this patrol on 27 July 1942.
On 24 August 1942, Muskeget departed Boston for her second weather patrol, under the command of LCDR. Charles Ernest Toft, 35, of South Portland, Maine, again at Weather Station No. 2. She issued the first weather report of her patrol on 28 August and arrived on station on 31 August. After she issued a weather report on 9 September 1942, Allied forces did not see or hear from her again.
At 14:54 hours on 9 September 1942, the German Navy submarine U-755, operating as part of a wolfpack, sighted Muskeget emerging from a rain squall in a heavy swell about 400 nautical miles (740 km) east of Newfoundland and misidentified her as an auxiliary merchant cruiser. U-755, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Walter Göing, fired two torpedoes, heard the sounds of Muskeget's boilers exploding and bulkheads collapsing as she sank, then surfaced and found a life raft and survivors in the water, but little wreckage. U-755 departed the area, but returned a few hours later to find a large oil slick and two life rafts tied together with eight men on them. As they shouted at U-755, Göing thought he heard them say that they were from an American ship named Muskogee, Mukited, or something similar. U-755 then again departed the area.
Muskeget was due to be relieved on station by the Coast Guard weather ship USCGC Monomoy (WAG-275). Monomoy reported on 11 September 1942 that she could not contact Muskeget, and arrived at Weather Station No. 2 on 13 September 1942 to find no sign of Muskeget. When Monomoy again reported her inability to contact Muskeget on 15 September, Allied ships and aircraft were ordered to search for the missing ship. Their search, on 16 September 1942, found no sign of Muskeget, nor did Monomoy find any trace of Muskeget or her crew while operating at Weather Station No. 2 continuously until 22 September 1942.
When Muskeget was overdue in returning to Boston later in September 1942, she was presumed lost with her entire complement of nine officers, 107 enlisted men, one United States Public Health Service officer, and four civilian United States Weather Bureau meteorologists. Monomoy concluded her weather patrol on 1 October 1942 and, upon arrival at Boston on 12 October, reported 20 to 35 German submarines operating within striking range of the weather station, shadowing the two or more Allied convoys which passed through the area in which Weather Station No. 2 was located each day.
No bodies were ever recovered, and Muskeget's wreck was never found. On 10 September 1943, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard officially declared all on board Muskeget to have been killed in action, and on 26 October 1943 she was struck from the Navy List. Only later did it become known that U-755 had sunk her.
Muskeget was the only U.S. weather ship lost during World War II.
Belated Purple Heart for meteorologists: Although the other personnel lost with Muskeget all received a posthumous award of the Purple Heart, the four civilian Weather Bureau meteorologists – Luther H. Brady, Lester S. Fodor, George F. Kubach, and Edward Weber – did not. In ca. 2012, researchers from the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – which oversees the U.S. National Weather Service, the successor organization to the Weather Bureau – detected the oversight and the circumstances of their deaths, which occurred at a time when civilians killed in action qualified for the Purple Heart. The four men received the Purple Heart posthumously in a ceremony at the Naval Heritage Center auditorium at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on 19 November 2015.
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