Brothers James, John, and Charles Kramb were all killed during the early days of the war.
There were three Kramb Brothers The oldest and the youngest were on the USS Arizona on that fateful day on December 7th, 1941 ***Petty Officer First Class John Kramb (oldest) had a brother, Seaman/1c James Henry Kramb Youngest, aboard the USS Arizona BB39.
Sadly the Middle Brother Charles Herman Kramb, Jr. was killed on Feb. 8, 1942, he was serving as a gunner on the USS Canopus, at the Battle of Bataan He was killed in the attack, just 10 days after his father had learned of his brothers’ fate.
The three Kramb brothers are memorialized by a set of stained glass windows at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, NY.
Theirs was not an easy life. The oldest, John, was just 13 years old when his mother died in 1930. The brothers, John, Charles Jr. and James, bounced around for several years, living with an uncle in the 19th Ward and later relatives in California. They reunited with their father, Charles Sr., after he remarried, moving into a house on Fairholm Drive in Gates. It was the height of the Depression, and times were tough.
One by one, the brothers escaped their circumstances by joining the Navy. James enlisted in November 1937, when he was just 16. John enlisted in March 1938, and Charles Jr., the middle brother, followed in October 1938
Each was assigned to a different ship in the Pacific fleet, but James and John made served together aboard on the USS Arizona, from 1939-1941 based at Pearl Harbor. They were quartered together, next to the ammunition magazine at the front of the ship.
They were likely still asleep on the morning of Dec. 7, when a Japanese bomb penetrated the ship’s deck and struck that magazine, creating a massive explosion that ripped holes in the ship’s sides and caused the conning tower to collapse.
Within seconds, all five of the Arizona’s decks were burning, and those who weren't killed by the force of the blast were trapped by the smoke and flames that followed. The Arizona sunk nine minutes after the attack on Pearl Harbor began. More than 1,100 sailors on board were killed.
News of the Arizona’s sinking wasn't reported in the American press for weeks, and the elder Kramb wasn't notified that James, 21, and John, 24, were dead until Jan. 29, 1942.
It’s likely that Charles Jr., 22, the middle brother, never heard the news. He was assigned to a submarine tender in the Philippines and was part of the ill-fated attempt to defend the Bataan peninsula. On Feb. 8, 1942, he was serving as a gunner on the USS Canopus., When it became necessary to coordinate an attack from seaward. He served as a gunner on one of the armored boats of the expedition. On the return trip, after completion of the mission, Gunner's Mate Kramb took a machine gun position in an open part of the boat and was firing at dive bombers as they came in to attack, thereby driving off two such attacks. On a third dive bombing attempt, however, three bombs fell alongside his boat causing his death. He was killed in the attack, just 10 days after his father had learned of his brothers’ fate. Charles Kramb Jr. was posthumously awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism.”
A flag with three gold stars hung in the window of the Kramb home in Gates. Three sons. All dead.
“The father never got over it,”