June 28, 1919 (Wallingford, CT) – December 7, 1941; 22 years old
Father listed at 135 Prince Street, Wallingford
Enlisted on October 18, 1937
Service number 2072110
USS Arizona (BB-39)
Born to Henry Alexander (1885-1939) and Edda Anthony Lanouette (1886-1947). Three sisters, Florence E. Lanouette Fish (1910-1999), Margaret Lanouette Sova (1912-1942) and Edda M. Lanouette Richetelli (1916-1976).
Received the Purple Heart Medal.
From The Record-Journal, Meriden, Connecticut, February 9, 1942
Henry’s father, also Henry, died suddenly on August 20, 1939 while Henry was in Navy training at Long Beach, California.
Some resources have incorrect information listing last name spelling as Lanquette. There was a Henry Joseph Lanquette from Connecticut in the U.S. Navy during the war, service number 8084780.
Another problem in the research is Henry’s middle name. On his birth certificate, it is listed as “Alexander”. Yet, his Navy records show his middle name as “John”.
From the Record-Journal (Meriden, CT) on February 7, 1942
NAVY CONFIRMS H.J. LANOUETTE DIED IN ACTION
Mother Receives Letter From Secretary Frank Knox
Mrs. Henry A. Lanouette of Center Street, mother of Henry John Lanouette, United States Navy, has received a telegram from Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, dated January 28, informing her of the loss of her son at Pearl Harbor. The communication reads:
“After exhaustive search it has been found impossible to locate your son, Henry John Lanouette, Coxswain, U.S. Navy, and he has therefore been officially declared to have lost his life in the service of his country as of December 7, 1941. The department expresses to you its sincerest sympathy.”
Another confirmation of his death has arrived from Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy, under date of January 31, 1942.
“I desire to offer to you my personal condolence in the tragic death of your son, Henry John Lanouette, Coxswain, United States Navy, which occurred at the time of the attack by the Japanese on December seventh. It is hoped that you may find comfort in the thought that he made the supreme sacrifice upholding the highest traditions of the Navy, in the defense of his country. Very sincerely yours, Frank Knox.”
From The Journal (Meriden CT) on May 12, 1942
“Killed in action … Henry John Lanouette … Coxswain, U.S. Navy … Attached U.S.S. Arizona, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.” … Those are the cold, hard words that tell of the death of Wallingford’s first victim in World War II … But there are warmer kinder words, words that can speak of Lanouette’s love for the Navy and how fate played with time.
Henry John Lanouette was a typical Wallingford youngster who liked to play baseball and basketball. He didn’t excel at either of the sports, but he liked to spend his time in good, clean fun and those were his favorite pastimes. He went to the movies like every ordinary borough youngster, had his favorite pals named Jim and Bob, and thoroughly enjoyed everything he did in everyday life. About five years ago, he joined up with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was sent out to Oregon from where he wrote how much he liked the far west territory. He served one year, then came back home to help his father, the late Henry Lanouette, a borough firefighter. Shortly afterward he decided to join the Navy and soon departed for Newport for training. The first ship he boarded was the U.S.S. Arizona, and he often wrote home of his love for the Navy. He would write: “I think the Navy is the finest thing that happened to me”:, “Lanny,” as he was called by his mates in the Navy, was later based in Long Beach, California and it was there two years ago that he was called home to attend his father’s funeral. That was the last time the Lanouettes saw “Lanny.” His four-year hitch was up last October and his family expected him home about December 1. For reasons unknown, he remained at Pearl Harbor, and on December 20, the first telegram arrived. “The Navy Department regrets … missing.” Another followed about a month later, listing him as one of the victims of the Japanese sneak raid at Pearl Harbor. Undoubtedly “Lanny” was at his post on the Arizona which was plastered by Jap bombs, fighting on the same ship which had been his home for the four years previous. Henry John Lanouette was the only son of four children, leaving three sisters, Edda, Florence, Margaret, and his mother, Mrs. Henry Lanouette. He has left us, but in our hearts, he will live forever.
USS Arizona Memorial. Photo from findagrave.com.
Memorialized on the Courts of the Missing, Court 3, Honolulu Memorial, 2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo from findagrave.com.