Frank Paul Bielskis

Because I haven’t updated this site in some time, I thought I would start posting individually about some of the men who served aboard the USS Zircon (PY-16).

When I began my search for the Zircon sailors (or their families), I created an Excel spreadsheet of all the names that appeared on muster rolls I’d obtained via Fold3.com. One of the first things I did was to determine which of the sailors were on board the day of the YF-415 disaster (11 May 1944), as looking for witnesses to that event was a priority of mine at the time. So, taking the March 1944 Muster Roll and then adding and subtracting the sailors whose names appeared on the subsequent Reports of Changes, I was able to determine that there were a hundred and twenty enlisted men aboard the ship on 11 May 1944. Once I acquired the ship’s deck logs for 1944, I found that there were eight officers.

Top: Thomas Charles Shubert, Jr; Middle: Elster Johannessen Tufte, William Albert Greffin, Ned Landis Lamprecht, Frank Paul Bielskis; Bottom: William Richard Salomons, Jr., Paul Magera, Buford Aubry Griggs (Photo courtesy of Thomas Shubert)

Once the spreadsheet was completed, I began searching for information about each sailor in alphabetical order, and amongst the first handful on the list was Frank Paul Bielskis. Unlike many (probably most) of the people I’ve searched for, I found a fair number of newspaper articles which mentioned Bielskis’ name. Sadly, they all were news articles about the boarding house fire in Brockton, Massachusetts in which he died. The above photo of him (at top right) is the only one I have of him in which he has been identified. I received it from Thomas Shubert, whose father is at the top of the photo.

Page 1 of the 30 April 1966 edition of the Boston Traveler

Bielskis had been married and had two children, but he appears to have been either separated or divorced from his wife at the time this fire occurred. For a time, he and his wife, Frances (“Fannie”) had lived with his parents, Casimir (Charles) and Eva, in Brockton. He worked as an automobile mechanic.

His wife apparently did not marry again, or so her obituary suggests. Bielskis was not mentioned.

Boston Globe, Sunday, 6 October 2002, Page 71

His children have not responded to my postcards, letters, and phone calls, so either they were too young to know much about him when he died, or their relationships with him were such that they have no interest in speaking about him. I’m sending postcards out to two of his surviving sisters today.

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