Arvell Bruce Ward – Commander, United States Navy

Arvell Bruce Ward, 91, a retired Navy Commander, civilian communications officer and merchant marine officer, died of cancer January 25, 2001, at a nursing home in Melbourne, Florida.

Commander Ward, who lived in Arlington from 1960 to 1993, was born in Chadbourn, North Carolina, and enlisted in the Navy at age 16. He served aboard the cruiser Raleigh and participated in the second Nicaragua campaign. He was in charge of the naval radio station in Beijing in 1938 and 1939. He was on duty at Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines when it was destroyed by Japanese aerial bombs December 10, 1941.

On Christmas Day, 1941, he embarked for Java with the commander in chief of the Asiatic Fleet in the submarine Shark. One jump ahead of the invading Japanese forces, he left Java by submarine for Fremantle, Australia. There, he installed communications facilities to serve submarine and other fleet units.

In Western Australia, Commander Ward met and married Sheila Annie Riddett, a popular radio singer. She died in 1994 after 52 years of marriage.

After the war, Commander Ward was executive officer of naval communications facilities in Puget Sound and, later, in Guam. He retired from the Navy in 1956 as commanding officer of the naval communications station at Pearl Harbor.

Three years later, Commander Ward was working as a civilian in naval communications at the Pentagon. He retired from civilian service in the mid-1970s, then went to sea again as a merchant marine officer until retiring altogether in 1981.

Survivors include a daughter, Cecelia Riddett of New York; two sons, Dr. Christopher Ward of Perth, Australia, and Dr. John Ward of Arlington; and three grandchildren.

A daughter, Josephine Schaefer, died last year.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 01/01/1939 – 01/01/1959
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 04/23/1909
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/25/2001
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 02/02/2001

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