jim
James Arthur Birtcher
Every family has people with amazing stories to tell.  My great uncle Jim definitely takes the prize for amazing stories in our family.  Click below to read his account of surviving 42 days on the South Atlantic Ocean in a lifeboat during World War II.
Article from Aurora Daily Beacon-News, 13 May, 1943.
Other Articles - Unfortunately, since these articles were all photocopies received from my grandmother I do not know the publication information.  I'll post it when I get it.
Birtcher Trains To Be Gunner in Navy

U.S. Naval Training Station, Newport, RI - With two brothers serving in the Army, James A. Birtcher, of Doanville, O., chose the Navy in which to serve his country in the war against the Axis.  Having completed his training at this station, he is now attending the Navy's Armed Guard School where he is being taught to operate the most advanced armament in the Naval Service.
Before enlisting in the Regular Navy, Birtcher spent two years in the Civilian Conservation Corps and was employed in a coal mine when he decided to join the Naval Service.  Ambitious to be a gunner's mate, he learned that the Navy offers all enlisted men the opportunity to win advancement if they are alert and show aptitude.
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Mrs. Clara DeWeese of Doanville, informs us that she is in receipt of a letter from the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C., stating that her ward, James A. Birtcher, seasman (SIC) second class, U.S. Navy was pickd up by a friendly ship after being adrift in a life boat for 42 days, with other members of his outfit.  The letter further states that a brief medical resume has been received by the Navy Dept. concerning his present condition.  It states that his general condition is satisfactory, but that he suffered much from shock and exposure.
It will be remembered that several weeks ago, services for seaman Birtcher, reported missing in action, were conducted at the Church of Christ, of which he was a member and officer; he was a member of a gun crew on a vessel of the Merchant Marine which was torpedoed and sunk.
Mrs. DeWeese is expecting him home any day, following his convalescence.
James Birtcher Located Says Navy Dept. Message

Mrs. Clara DeWees, Doanville received a message Wednesday evening from the Personnel Department of the U.S. Navy, Arlington, Va., saying that her nephew, James Arthur Birtcher, 21, seaman second class, U.S. Navy had been located.
Mrs. DeWeese, on March 11 was advised that her nephew was missing in action in performance of his duty and in service of his country.
Wednesday's message stated that "particulars concerning condition and whereabouts" would be sent to the family later.
Ohioans in Service

Nelsonville, O - Bound for home after rescue from 42 days adrift in an open sea James A. Birtcher, seaman second class, is convalescing from shock and exposure but his general condition is reported satisfactory.  Originally Birtcher was reported missing in action.  Later it became known that he was a member of a gun crew on a Merchant Marine vessel which had been torpedoed and sunk.  He is the ward of Mrs. Clara DeWeese of Doanville.
OHIOAN MISSING

Nelsonville, Ohio, March 16 - James Arthur Birtcher, 21, seaman second class, United States navy, is missing in action, his guardian, Mrs. Clara DeWeese, has been advised.  Birtcher is a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank Birtcher of Doanville.
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