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Art Sinclair

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1918 Haddonfield, NJ
Date and Place of Death:    January 26, 1944 off coast of Anzio, Italy
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Technician Fifth Grade
Military Unit: Company C, 83rd Chemical (Motorized) Battalion US Army
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

Arthur H. Sinclair was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey. His parents, Arthur and Katherine, had come to the United States from Ireland and ran a grocery business in East Camden. Sinclair was a star athlete at Haddonfield Memorial High School and by 1934 he was pitching for the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in the South Jersey League. He was signed by the New York Giants' organization in late 1937, and went to spring training at Lafayette, Louisiana, with the Jersey City Giants of the Class AA International League. The left-hander was assigned to the Fort Smith Giants of the Class C Western Association for the regular season and made 21 appearances for an 8-4 record with a 3.46 ERA.

That was to be his only fling in professional baseball. Sinclair returned to New Jersey at the end of the season and played semi-pro as a pitcher/outfielder with Haddonfield of the Camden County League. When he entered military service on July 9, 1942, he was leading the league with a .491 batting average. Following basic training, Sinclair joined Company C, 83rd Chemical (Motorized) Battalion at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia, where he learned to operate chemical mortars firing phosphorous and smoke rounds. After training, the battalion departed for overseas duty on April 29, 1943. On May 11, they arrived at Oran in North Africa, and began intensive amphibious training in preparation for immediate combat.

The battalion landed at Sicily on July 10, 1943, and then made another amphibious landing at Maiori, near Salerno in Italy, where they frequently engaged enemy patrols in fire fights. The advance northward in Italy slowed to a halt as the Allied Forces encountered the formidable Gustav Line and, in an effort to break the stalemate, the invasion of Anzio was planned.

On the night of January 25, 1944, LST-422 (landing ship tank) - operated by the Royal Navy - departed Naples, Italy, loaded with trucks, Jeeps, M3 halftracks, ambulances, and other vehicles. She also carried 50-gallon barrels of gasoline and a variety of ammunition. The personnel aboard were Companies C, D and Headquarters of the 83rd Chemical Battalion, Motorized, including T/5 Sinclair. LST-422 was part of a convoy of 13 LSTs and arrived off the beaches of Anzio, Italy, during Operation Shingle at about 1:00 A.M. on January 26.

During the early hours an intense storm blew the LST into a mine field, about 12 miles offshore. There was an enormous explosion and the ship's fuel supply immediately exploded.

Most of the men of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion were asleep in the tank deck, which was the first to flood. Over four hundred men who had no chance of getting out.

LST-422 finally broke up and sank at approximately 4:30 AM. A total of 454 Americans and a 29 British sailors were lost and conditions at the time allowed only that the dead, where possible, be picked up, identified, placed into a canvas bag weighted down with four or five 40mm shells and returned to the sea.

Jack Sinclair is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.

Year

Team

League

Class

G

IP

ER

BB

SO

W

L

ERA

1938 Fort Smith Western Assoc C 21 104 40 62 60 8 4 3.46

 

LST-422

LST-422 unloading at Anzio harbor prior to that fateful January day.

LST

Full view of an LST (landing ship tank). The type Art Sinclair was aboard on January 26, 1944

Some of the information contained in this biography was found at www.dvrbs.com. Thanks also to Terry Lowry, official historian of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion for sharing information from his book entitled Bastard Battalion: A History of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion in World War II.

Date Added March 4, 2012 Updated June 10, 2014

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