Robert J. Donovan

Robert J. Donovan

Robert James Donovan was born in Newark on Jan. 30, 1923. He was the son of William Everett Donovan and Anna (Annie) Elizabeth Donovan (née Webb). He had an older half-sister, an older sister, and two younger brothers. Donovan grew up in Newark. The 1940 census recorded the family living in the Pennsylvania Railroad Station house (now the home of the Newark History Museum at 429 South College Avenue). Donovan attended Newark High School but dropped out of school after completing 10th grade. Donovan was a tubemaker at Continental Diamond Fibre prior to entering the service.

Donovan volunteered in the fall of 1942 and was accepted for the U.S. Naval Reserve in Wilmington on Nov. 9, 1942. He attended boot camp at the U.S. Naval Training Station Newport, R.I. Donovan was promoted to seaman 2nd class on Jan. 5, 1943, and reported to the Armed Guard School at Little Creek, Va., on Feb. 20, 1943. The U.S. Navy Armed Guard manned guns aboard armed merchant ships. On March 19, 1943, after completing training as a member of a gun crew, he transferred to the U.S. Navy Armed Guard Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. On March 22, 1943, Donovan was promoted to seaman 1st class and assigned to a gun crew aboard the Panamanian-flagged merchant ship S.S. El Almirante.

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