Frank J. Field (1918/09/21)
A Watsonville sailor had a heart for rendering popular and comedy songs but one that failed him while serving in the navy.
Frank Jay Field was born in La Peer, Michigan, on February 8, 1889. Information regarding his family and the date of his arrival in the Pajaro Valley is not known; however, in 1910 he was living with an aunt in Corralitos. While residing in the county, he was employed by the City Grocery and the A & H Grocery. Prior to World War I, Frank moved to Oakland where he worked as a chauffeur for the Ainsworth Brothers. In Oakland he also became active in the entertainment societies known as Le Tres Jolie Club and the Five Forty-five Club. He was known in the East Bay for "having an unusual talent for rendering popular and comedy songs."
On June 5, 1917, Frank Field reported to the Oakland draft board and registered for service. Enlistment records described him as being tall and slender with brown hair and blue eyes. He applied for a deferment to support his mother and sister, but it was denied and he was drafted. Following his induction he accompanied the first draft contingency to Camp Lewis, Washington. While at the camp, he was found to have a weak heart and was given a medical discharge.
Field returned home and enlisted in the Naval Reserve. Because of his prior machining experience he was promoted to Machinist Mate Second Class. While undergoing training at San Pedro, California, he applied for enrollment in a special submarine chaser class at Columbia University. After completing that program, he was promoted to Machinist Mate First Class and ordered to New London, Connecticut to await a ship assignment.
During his stay at New London, Frank Field contracted the Spanish influenza and died on September 21, 1918. At the military funeral held for him in Oakland, six sailors served as pallbearers, a firing squad presented a salute and a bugler played "Taps." His burial location is unknown.
(USCR, 1910 US Census, CA, Santa Cruz; WWIDR; WRP October 8, 1918 4:3;)