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Anthon Martin Bloniarz

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Anthon Martin Bloniarz
1926-1945

"This war is a new kind of war. It is warfare in terms of every continent, every island, every sea, every air lane in the world."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Anthon Martin Bloniarz was born on April 28, 1926, in Monongalia County, West Virginia, to Martin and Regina Barthomie Bloniarz, immigrants from Poland.

Researchers should be alert that Anthon’s name is spelled this way on his birth certificate, but the spelling varies slightly from record to record. In the census, on military documents, and, eventually, his headstone, the name varied among Anthon, Anton, Anthoni, and Anthony. The name Bloniarz also varied slightly from one record to another, and Mrs. Bloniarz’s given name was sometimes recorded to be Virginia. For clarity, the spelling Anthon will be used to refer to Seaman 2nd Class Bloniarz, the subject of this biography, since he signed his name this way.

The 1930 Federal Census taker found the family living in Star City, West Virginia, near Morgantown. Mr. Bloniarz was a coal miner, living with his wife, and with them, their children, all born in West Virginia. Their names were Stanley, Victor, Victoria, and Anthon.

In 1940, the family lived, still, in Star City. Mr. Bloniarz was listed as a laborer in the coal mines. Mrs. Bloniarz was not employed outside the home, but their daughter, Victoria, was a bookkeeper at a glass factory. Anthon was still living in their home, but the other children were no longer there. The family had with them a boarder, from Poland, who worked in the mines.

In 1942, Mr. Bloniarz registered under a World War II Selective Service initiative to document the skillsets of men not considered young enough for military service. This registration became known as the “The Old Man’s Registration,” or the “The Old Man’s Draft,” though the intent was not to draft men in this age group into military service but merely to document people whose skills could contribute to the war effort. (“The Old Man’s Draft,” The Newberry, 21 July 2012, accessed 7 December 2017, https://www.newberry.org/old-mans-draft.) The registration would provide data that could be used to evaluate manpower and industrial capacity in the United States. Mr. Bloniarz was 55 years old and working at Arkwright Mine. He registered in Morgantown.

At the age of 18 and still a student, Anthon registered for military service on his birthday in 1944. He entered active duty on July 15, 1944.

In January 1945, Anthon is recorded in Navy muster rolls as a fireman second class. On January 28, 1945, his name appears on change records for the USS Antietam. He was received aboard the ship from the Navy Shipyards in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the date of the commissioning of the ship. The history of this Essex-class aircraft carrier is recorded on the website Hullnumber.com (“USS Antietam,” Hullnumber.com, accessed 7 December 2017, http://www.hullnumber.com/CV-36):

The second Antietam (CV-36) was laid down on 15 March 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 20 August 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Millard E. Tydings the wife of Senator Tydings of Maryland; and commissioned on 28 January 1945 Capt. James R. Tague in command.

The aircraft carrier completed fitting out at Philadelphia until 2 March when she got underway for her shakedown cruise. The ship arrived in Hampton Roads on the 5th and conducted operations from Norfolk until 22 March when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for Trinidad in the British West Indies. At the conclusion of her shakedown cruise Antietam returned to Philadelphia on 28 April to begin post-shakedown availability.

During this time, Anthon Bloniarz appeared on muster rolls and change records, dated and undated, for the USS Antietam. In March, he is recorded as a seaman second class. The ship returned to Philadelphia on Anthon Bloniarz’s birthday that April.

Anthon Bloniarz went on leave status and traveled back to Morgantown soon after the ship reached Philadelphia. On May 2, 1945, Anthon was involved in a car accident in Morgantown.

A writer for the Morgantown Dominion News on May 2, 1945, wrote that Anthon Bloniarz and his passenger were in a car that police said “failed to negotiate the curve in the road and plunged over an embankment” near the intersection between University Avenue and Eighth Street. The pair were taken to Monongalia General Hospital.

Anthon Bloniarz did not survive his injuries. The date and time of death was given as May 2, 1945, at 2:00 A. M. according to the county death certificate accessed through the vital records site through the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. The May report of changes for the USS Antietam notes that Anthon Bloniarz died while on leave status.

Research for this biography indicates that the young female passenger with Anthon Bloniarz that night survived her injuries. She married a few years later and died in October of 2017.

Anthon Bloniarz was buried in East Oak Grove Cemetery in Monongalia County on May 4, 1945, under the name Anthony Bloniarz. His parents are interred nearby. Martin Bloniarz died in 1963, and Regina Bloniarz died in 1980. Anthon’s brothers, Victor and Stanley, are also interred in East Oak Grove. A portrait of Anthon is imbedded in his gravestone, as is often the case with military gravesites. At East Oak Grove, the east side of the ridge has mostly English descendants in it, and the west side has mostly Orthodox Greek, Polish, Italians and Russians in it. It’s on the non-English side where most of the portraits in headstones can be found. There are some really old portrait photos still visible there. . . . from the early 1900s through the WWII era, and up until today.
tombstone

Headstone for Anthon Bloniarz in East Oak Grove Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

tombstone

The graves of Anthon’s parents are nearby. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
October 2017

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Anthon Martin Bloniarz

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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