MACHINIST'S MATE FIRST CLASS JOSEPH PIOTROWSKI, son of John S. and Jessie Piotrowski, was born in Camden NJ on May 3rd, 1921.
John Piotrowski had served with the Polish army during World War I, leaving Camden to join the volunteer Polish Army formed in Canada. He was active in veterans affairs, and was a past commander of the Wojtkowiak-Laskowski Post of the American Legion in Camden. He passed away in 1935.
As a youth Joseph Piotrowski attended Bonsall Grammar School and Hatch Jr. High School, and Camden High School, in Camden NJ. Before entering the U.S. Navy he took great interest in Boy Scout activities at St. Joseph Parish in Camden, where he and his family attended Catholic services. He also had worked for his brother Henry in the interior decorating business.
On June 1, 1938, Joseph Piotrowski and a group of friends took a rowboat into the Delaware River with the intent of rowing around Petty's Island. Joseph Piotrowski and a friend, Pasquale Barbalace, of 1551 Norris Street, decided to swim to Petty's Island when 100 yards away. Barbalace apparently was seized with cramps, and was drowned. This event was front page news in the Camden Courier-Post on June 2, 1938.
Joseph Piotrowski enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. On December 7, 1941 he was serving aboard the cruiser USS Helena at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. He survived the attack and was granted a furlough, during which time he returned home to visit his mother, Mrs. Jessie Piotrowski of 1167 Chase Street, Camden NJ. The Camden Courier-Post printed a short article about Joseph Piotrowski on Page 8 of the February 17, 1942 edition, reproduced below.
Joseph Piotrowski was killed in action while serving aboard the USS Helena in July of 1943. He was survived by his mother, sister Irene, and brothers Henry and Edward. Lost at sea, in his honor his family engraved his name on his fathers tombstone at New St. Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr NJ .
Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 1938
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Camden Courier-Post - February 17, 1942
Back from Pearl Harbor where he
was with the U.S. naval forces which were attacked by the
Japanese on December 7, Joseph Piotrowski was given a
welcome home party last night at the home of his mother,
Mrs. Jessie Piotrowski, 1167 Chase Street.
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