Carl Bialek, Jr.
Born: April 30, 1915
Hometown: New Hackensack, NY
Class: 1938- New York Merchant Marine Academy
1939 – USMMCC Cadet Officer
Position / Rank: Ensign
Date / Place of death: November 2, 1941 / Near
Date / Place of burial: November 2, 1941 / Near
After graduating from New York Merchant Marine Academy, Carl Bialek sailed as a
Cadet Officer (Engineer) aboard the SS American Traveler until early 1939. Crew lists
on file in New York, NY indicate that he signed on aboard the passenger ship SS
Manhattan as a Junior Licensed Engineer on April 28, 1939 at New York, NY. The last
crew list entry for him on the SS Manhattan was upon the ship’s arrival in New York on
November 15, 1939. He subsequently applied for and received his commission as
Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve and was ordered to active duty. He completed naval
aviation training on April 25, 1941 and was assigned to fly seaplanes.
Ensign Carl Bialek was a crew member (either co-pilot or navigator) of a Navy Martin PBM-1 “Mariner” (Serial #1248) seaplane that crashed into a mountainside while returning to its base in Keflavik,Iceland, on November 2, 1941. The aircraft was assigned to Patrol Squadron Seventy Four (VP-74), an element of the
pre-World War II “Neutrality Patrol” in the North Atlantic. During the two weeks preceding the crash the USS Kearny (DD 432) had been torpedoed and the USS Reuben James (DD 245) sunk by U-Boats while on Neutrality Patrol.
According to the crash report,
“The plane crashed as a result of insufficient and unreliable aids to
navigation under instrument flying conditions. The pilot maintained his
course on the assumption that it was a safe course based on the radiodirection
finder bearing on Reytjanes Point, which bearing was incorrect.”
Ensign Carl Bialek, Ensign Carl M. Thornquist, USNR, Second Lieutenant William P.
Robinson, USA and all nine enlisted crewmen on board were killed in the crash.
Carl Bialek, the son of Carl Bialek and Bertha Bialek, grew up on the family poultry farm
near Wappinger’s Falls in Duchess County, NY. The couple had a daughter Martha,
Carl’s older sister, who worked as a bookkeeper.
Photo of PBM-1 Mariner