Carl Shepherd Dalbey (junior) was born 22 October 1922, son of Carl S Dalbey (senior) and Henrietta Clarkson Boyd. During WW II he served in the Merchant Marines as a radio operator. During his sixteen months of service he met with incredible hardship. In October of 1942 his mother had the opportunity to send him birthday greetings via the Fred Waring radio broadcast from New York City. Five months later, 29 March 1943, Carl Dalbey was killed in action when his ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic. The article below appeared in The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 18 October 1942. The format has been slightly edited.
Voice of City Woman Going Over Radio to Her Son at Sea
Without a doubt, Mrs Carl Dalbey sr, 900 Northwest Forty-second street, was the busiest woman in Oklahoma City Saturday, and one of the happiest in the world. She was preparing her wardrobe for an expense paid trip to New York. That's a good enough deal on its own to make any woman happy. But, Thursday night, she is going to appear on a coast-to-coast hookup and talk to her son, Carl Dalbey jr, who will be on the high seas as a member of Uncle Sam's merchant marines. Thursday will be his twenty-first birthday anniversary, and she hopes to goodness that he's listening. The broadcast by Fred Waring and his orchestra will be dedicated to Mrs Dalbey's son.
The whole thing has happened so fast that it has taken her breath away. Carl was home to recuperate after he spent 32 days in an open lifeboat after his ship was torpedoed in the Caribbean. It took seven weeks for him to regain his strength. During the summer nights he and his mother and father frequently listened to the Waring broadcasts. It became one of their favorites.
Several weeks ago Carl went back to the east coast to get a job on a boat and head for the open seas. Mrs Dalbey heard Waring's orchestra play his new March of the Merchant Marine. She wrote him a letter, asking him to play that song for her son Thursday, on his twenty-first birthday, and figured she would hear no more about it. One day she got a letter, saying that Waring would change his program to include it, and would send a recording of the program to her son. The same day Gayle Grubb, manager of radio station WKY, wanted to know if she would like to go to New York to appear on the Waring broadcast, expenses paid. With Grubb handling arrangements for Waring, the trip was arranged. She will leave at 1:10pm Tuesday on the Santa Fe. Mrs Dalbey is getting an additional kick out of the situation. Her son knows the Thursday program will be dedicated to him and he's sure to be listening if he possibly can. What he doesn't know is that his mother will be on the broadcast.
The boy, graduate of Central highschool here and the Oklahoma A and M college, was a radio announcer before he joined the merchant marine. His ship was torpedoed on his first foreign trip. He was one of a group which landed on an uninhabited Caribbean island and faced the prospect of dying of thirst. However, he and others noticed some wild jackasses on the island, and tracked them to their watering hole. Later they were rescued and brought back to the United States.
Mrs Dalbey's husband is not going to New York. "No, he isn't going, poor man, but he had a trip to California not long ago." Father Dalbey will have his car glued to the radio Thursday. The program will be broadcast by WKY at 6pm.
Carl Dalbey (junior) is my second cousin, once removed. You can learn more about the Dalbey Family by visiting their page at Family Stories, pamgarrett.com.