Sea Chest

This chest was given to my great-grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Randolf Lund Berger Knutsen, by the men of his command at the finish of World War II.  

Born in 1893 in Aalesund, Norway, Randolf's father died of pneumonia in 1899 leaving his mother to care for seven children. Census records show that in 1900 the family was on the city's welfare roles. Randolf left to work as a deck hand with the 1930 US census listing his first entry into the United States as 1908. He was fifteen.

After working as a fisherman in Seattle, WA, Randolf found a job on an oil transport vessel going up and down the West Coast. He soon moved to Oakland, CA, becoming a naturalized US Citizen in 1919. Working through the ranks from deck hand to Master Mariner (Captain), Randolf was also qualified to act as a pilot to bring ships into port. When the US entered the Second World War in late-1941, Randolf joined the US Naval Reserve in early-1942 as a Lieutenant Commander and spent the majority of the conflict carrying ammunition from the mainland to various zones in the Pacific Theater. When he left the service, he was given this trunk by those he had sailed with. It was in my grandmother's house, before being passed down to my aunt. One day it will belong to me.   

Although he died in 1960, his legacy remains a great source of pride to my family. I look forward to being able to tell his story to my children, reminding them and myself of our family's Norwegian immigrant past.   

Place(s): California,Norway,Washington State
Year: 1908

– Jonathan Gillett

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more