Harvey Loyal Myers
Electrician’s Mate First Class Harvey Loyal Myers was born on February 6, 1921, in Randolph County, West Virginia, but hailed from Hammond, Marion County. The fourth son of Harvey and Florence McCauley Myers, he joined older brothers Edward, Thomas, and John Albert. Later, the elder Harvey and Florence would add a fifth son—Frank—to their growing family of boys, all of whom would eventually serve their country in World War II. Harvey Loyal’s nickname while growing up was “Toots.” According to the Fairmont Times, his father had been an assistant chief of police and later a justice of peace in their community.
Upon returning from the war and starting his family, in 1949 John Albert would name his son—Harvey and Florence’s first grandson—for his brother. Harvey Loyal Myers II of course has no direct recollection of his uncle but gladly recounts what he learned about him from others. He says that one of his uncle’s boyhood pals told him his uncle was a “dashing young man, one who wanted to have a good time or play a joke.” According to the nephew Harvey, the boyhood friend said he entered the Army while the uncle Harvey joined the Navy, and he never saw him again. Harvey II recounted that his uncle liked to swim at Powell in Marion County. According to Harvey II, “He spent his summers in the river.” EM1c Myers graduated from East Fairmont High School. Harvey II notes that his uncle tried to enlist in the Navy upon graduation, but family circumstances kept him at home. He did finally enlist in June 1940, a year and a half before the U.S. entered World War II.
In the Navy, Harvey served on the submarine USS Flier. On August 2, 1944, the Flier left Fremantle, Australia, headed for the Philippine Islands. In the Balabac Strait, it struck a Japanese mine and swiftly sank. According to a Navy press release of February 1, 2010, fourteen of Harvey’s mates survived the initial explosion, but only eight crew members managed to swim to a Pacific Island, where they were eventually rescued. Seventy-eight crew members (including Myers) either went down with the ship or died during the subsequent swim.
For more than sixty years, the wreckage of the Flier was unrecovered, but one of the survivors was Ensign Al Jacobson, who made it his mission in life to search for his lost crewmates. When he died in 2008, his family was determined to continue the quest. Jacobson’s son Steve, his grandson, and a team from YAP Films (who investigate mishaps at sea) used Al Jacobson’s notes and research to locate the downed submarine. His “guess” was remarkably accurate, and the wreckage of the Flier was finally located in 2009, with the discovery confirmed by the Navy in February 2010. In August 2010, a memorial ceremony for the men of the USS Flier was held at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum in Muskegon, Michigan.
With few facts to go on, through the years the third-generation Harvey Myers, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War and an amateur historian, kept trying to find out more. Noting that communications during World War II were often both delayed and lacking in detail, he cites a carbon copy of the official letter from the Navy in his possession stating that his uncle was missing in action. Myers says that although the letter initially dashed his grandmother’s hope that his uncle was still alive, “she went to her grave thinking he was going to walk through the door.”
|For his wartime service, EM1c Harvey Myers received a Purple Heart. His name is included on the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.|
The discovery of the Flier in 2008 provides encouragement that new searches and new technologies will provide answers to some of the mysteries surrounding disappearances during the war. While the finding of this sub cannot compensate the Myers family for their loss, it can help to bring them to closure.
Information and picture provided by Myers’ nephew Harvey Loyal Myers II. Article by Patricia Richards McClure
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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