Tynan, Donald Joseph

Donald Joseph Tynan
Born: August 16, 1922
Hometown: Yonkers, NY
Class: 1943
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Third Assistant Engineer
Date / Place of death: April 16, 1944 / North Atlantic,
40-05 N, 69-24 W
Date/Place of burial: April 16, 1944/North Atlantic, 40-05 N,
69-24 W – Lost at Sea
Age: 21

Donald J. Tynan was appointed a Midshipman, USNR on September 18, 1942 and graduated in January 1944 with Section A-144. He signed on as Third Assistant Engineer aboard the SS John Sergeant at the Port of New York on January 19,1944. In late-March 1944 the SS Pan Pennsylvania returned to New York from a voyage to the United Kingdom. Donald J. Tynan signed on as Third Assistant Engineer for the next voyage.

On April 15, 1944, the six month old SS Pan Pennsylvania, at that time the largest tanker in the U.S. merchant marine, sailed from New York in convoy CU-21 loaded with 140,000 barrels of gasoline bound for Barry, Wales. The following morning the ship was about 200 miles east of the mouth of the New York Harbor while the convoy finished forming for the voyage to England. At approximately 0805, the Pan Pennsylvania was torpedoed by U-550. The torpedo struck on the port side at the #8 tank. Survivors later noted a “gusher of red” pouring from the side of the ship.

Some of the crew members, who had been having breakfast at the time of the attack, jumped overboard. Others tried to launch one of the lifeboats. The engines were reversed and secured while the ship settled at the stern. At 0845 the Captain, noting that the engine room was on fire while fumes from the cargo were getting “heavy and sickening” ordered the remaining crew to abandon ship. The survivors of the Pan Pennsylvania were picked up by three of the convoy escorts; USS Peterson (DE 152), USS Gandy (DE 764), and USS Joyce (DE 317). Later that morning these ships sank U-550. The hulk of the SS Pan Pennsylvania capsized but remained afloat until it was sunk by aircraft on April 18, 1944.

Of the Pan Pennsylvania’s fifty merchant crew and 31 man Armed Guard Detachment, fifteen crew members, including Donald J. Tynan, and ten Navy Sailors died in the attack.

For his merchant marine service, Donald J. Tynan was posthumously awarded the Mariners Medal, Combat bar with Star, Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Victory Medal and the Presidential Testimonial Letter.

Donald J. Tynan was the third of Captain Thomas J. Tynan and Veronica Kelly Tynan’s four children. The oldest child was Donald’s big sister, also named Veronica. His brothers were Brandon (one year older) and Robert (five years younger). When Donald was a boy he father was already sailing as Master. However, since the 1940 U.S. Census identifies Veronica Tynan as a widow, Thomas J. Tynan died during the 1930’s.

The 1940 U.S. Census also indicates that Veronica Tynan was employed as a “Cafeteria Operator” in a public high school, while Brandon was employed as a clerk in a public school. Donald’s little brother, Robert, graduated from Kings Point in 1950

7 thoughts on “Tynan, Donald Joseph

  1. Hello
    I am the niece of Donald J Tynan. I am currently doing a Genaeology search for our Tynan family & I would like to get copies of all the medals & the paperwork that accompanied the medals my uncle received for his brave service that cost him his life. I never got to know my uncle as he passed before I was born so this would mean a lot to my family
    I would also like to get a copy of the Presidential award letter so if you can help me with information on where to look, I would be grateful for that
    Thank you
    Lynn Margaret Veronica Tynan

  2. My father was on the pan when she went down. Navy armed guard, He is in some of the photos on the Cutter Joyce that pick him up. I’m looking for information/records on both the Pan Pennsylvania and Joyce. Help would be appreciated.

    Thanks CWO4 Brennan

    • Thank you for contacting us though the blog on Braving the Wartime Seas. I am sorry you lost your father on that terrible sinking. Unfortunately we can not help you on the research but perhaps we can though another source.We know of a guy who is writing a book about the sinking of the SS Pan Pennsylvania and the submarine that sank it, U-550. His name is Randall S. Peffer. Randy is an English teacher at Phillips Academy
      https://www.andover.edu/Academics/English/Faculty/Pages/RandallSPeffer.aspx We suggest you contact Randy via Phillips Academy. George Ryan

      • My father was on the pan Pennsylvanian, navy gun crew. He was one of the survivors. Rescued by the Joyce he was made petty officer in charge of POWS. It a funny story on a sad day.. There are pictures of him guarding the prisoners on the Joyce. Before he died in 2011 we talked in depth about ww2 and the Pan Pennsylvania in particular.
        Please contact me for info exchange.

        Chief Warrant Officer 4 Terry Brennan USCG Res.

  3. Interesting info, my 1st cousin which I never met died on the pan penn armed guard Donald Creighton age 19. Lots of info found on the pan as well as the u boat 550 that sunk her. My uncle also lost at sea in th carribean jul 1942 torpedoed u boat merchant seaman chief mate perry Creighton off he coast of cuba

    • Betty, You made the following comment on our blog Braving the Wartime Seas:
      “Interesting info, my 1st cousin which I never met died on the pan penn armed guard Donald Creighton age 19. Lots of info found on the pan as well as the u boat 550 that sunk her. My uncle also lost at sea in th Caribbean July 1942 torpedoed u boat merchant seaman chief mate Perry Creighton off he coast of Cuba”
      My friend and collaborator on the book, Tom Schroeder provides the following info:
      Please advise Betty Creighton to go to Uboat.net for additional information on her uncle Perry Creighton. According to u boat .net records his name was Roy Webster Creighton and he was second mate of the ARLYN. The U boat Captain that torpedoed her was Eberhard Hoffman and he was killed on 27 Dec. 1942.
      Another U boat captain by the name of Paul Hartwig gave the ARLYN a coup de grace torpedo when the ship was abandoned. Hartwig survived the war.

      Tom’s friend, Ranier Kolbicz advises that Perry Franklin Creighton was the Chief Mate and perished when the Onodonga was sunk in the Caribbean. Please advise Betty Creighton that she was correct.
      Tom just finished reading the book “The Matthews Men” which mentions the sinking of the Onodonga. In fact it is mentioned in numerous paragraphs.
      Please advise Betty of this book although there is no mention of her uncle in it.

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