First American War Vessel Named after Manchester NH: USS Manchester (CL-83) 1946-1960

uss manchester photograph 2

1950 photograph of the USS Manchester entering the port of San Francisco.

The Portsmouth Herald newspaper of March 5, 1946 proclaimed the launching of a new light cruiser that honored the City of Manchester, New Hampshire.  The Quincy Massachusetts shipyard of the Bethlehem Steel company was responsible for building her.

The craft (CL-83) was the sixth and last of its class to be built in Quincy. It was also the first American war vessel to carry the name of Manchester. Her home port would be Boston, Massachusetts.

The sponsor of the ship USS Manchester was Mrs. Ernest L. (Amanda Ahern) Gladu, the mother of two sons who served during World War II, and sister to three brothers who served in the same war.  Her youngest brother, Ensign Kevin Oscar Ahern, Supply Corps, USNR,  had died 2 months before the launching (18 January 1946, missing at Manila Philippines) and had been awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

According to the Portsmouth Herald, the “ship’s armament will consist of 12 six-inch guns; 12 five-inch dual purpose guns and 40-millimeter guns. It will also carry aircraft suit- and 20-millimeter anti-aircraft for spotting and reconnaissance.””

Just above is a Department of Defense video of the USS Manchester firing on a Korean Beach.

The USS Manchester was commissioned in October of 1946, she made four deployments to the Mediterranean Sea in 1947-49.  In March 1949 Manchester was transferred to the Pacific fleet and cruised in the Western Pacific.  She was sent to Asiatic waters in September of 1950 at the outbreak of the Korean War, and was involved in combat.  Following the end of that conflict she was deployed to the western Pacific in 1954 and 1955.  In 1956 she helped bring Korean War Unknown Servicemen to Hawaii for burial.  She was decommissioned in 1956, struck from the Navy list in April of 1960, and sold for scrap in October 1960.

Recently, Mark Burns of Manchester, New Hampshire, stated on FaceBook that according to his family’s history, a cousin, John L. Sullivan, was instrumental in the naming of this ship.  Considering that Mr. Sullivan was Undersecretary, and then Secretary of the U.S. Navy during that same time period, it is entirely likely that this is true.  [My thanks, Mark for the info.]

As for the woman who sponsored this ship–Mrs. Gladu was secretary to the Mayor of Manchester for 12 years, and involved (as noted below) in N.H. Veteran’s Affairs.  Madeline (Ahern) Gladu was educated at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Manchester, and Sillery, Quebec. She was Dept. President American Legion Auxiliary from 1940-mid 1950s, National Executive Chairman American Legion Auxiliary 1940-1941, National Vice-President American Legion Auxiliary 1955. She was State Chairman Women’s Division National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis 9 years; member 40 & 8, Daughters of Isabella, Christ Child, NH State Veterans Association; Democrat, State Chairman Women’s Division Democratic State Committee; member Democratic Women’s Club.

September 1954, new officers of Legion Auxiliary at Washinton D.C. -- from left to right MRS. ERNEST GLADU, Manchester NH, Eastern Division; Mrs. John Hunt, Fort Sanilac Michigan, Central Division; Mrs. Percy Lainson, National President; Mrs. A.J. Breaux, Beaumont Texas, Southern Division; Mrs. Sando Dorsett, Phoenix Arizona, Western Division; and Mrs. Crawford Mortenson, Ord., Nebraska, Northwestern Division.

September 1954, new officers of Legion Auxiliary at Washinton D.C. — from left to right MRS. ERNEST GLADU, Manchester NH, Eastern Division; Mrs. John Hunt, Fort Sanilac Michigan, Central Division; Mrs. Percy Lainson, National President; Mrs. A.J. Breaux, Beaumont Texas, Southern Division; Mrs. Sando Dorsett, Phoenix Arizona, Western Division; and Mrs. Crawford Mortenson, Ord., Nebraska, Northwestern Division.


Ernest Joseph Gladu, son of Roch & Zenaide (Blanchard) Gladu, b. 21 Sep 1893 Iberville, Quebec, Canada; m. 29 Dec 1919 in Manchester NH To Amanda Madeline Ahern; he d. Sep 1982 in Manchester NH. She was the daughter of Michael E. & Amanda (Durant) Ahern and was b. 29 Oct 1898 in Manchester NH and died May 1986 in Franklin, NH. His son’s marriage certificate states Ernest was a “Power Engineer.”  They resided 68 Hollis Street in Manchester, NH. Roman Catholic.
1920 US Census [93 Market Street]
Ernest J. Gladu, b. abt 1894 Canada immigrated 1914 naturalized 1919 loom fixer, woolen mill
Madeline A. Gladu, b abt 1898 NH
In 1949 Amanda was a secretary in the Mayor’s Office, City Hall, Manchester NH.
1963 Nashua Telegraph
Guest, Madeline Gladu, chairman of the women’s division of the state Democratic Party.
April 29, 1966, Nashua Telegraph
Mrs. Madeline Gladu, a long time Democratic party worker, would be honored at a dinner-dance at the Carousel Ballroom in Manchester, Friday evening, May 5 at 7 pm. Anyone wishing to attend should contact (Philippe) Blanchette.
May 16 1967 Nashua Telegraph
Madeline Gladu of Manchester to a reappointment to the Board of Trustees of the Industrial School [Executive Council gets Governor’s Nominations]
Nashua Telegraph: Monday, May 02, 1966, Nashua, New Hampshire
MERRIMACK–A testimonial dinner-dance will be held Friday honoring Mrs. Madeline Gladu of Manchester, for her many years of service with the Democratic party, American Legion and other civic organizations. Gov. John W. King, Senator Tom McIntyre, Congressman J. Oliva Huot and American Legion Commander Donald P. Still head the honorary committee. Reservations must be made by tomorrow morning by calling Mary Moriarty. Dinner will be served at 7 and dancing will follow.
1976 Fiscal Agent. Vote Hugh Gallen for Governor ad by Armand A. Beaulieu Hillsborough County commissioner
Children of Ernest J. & Amanda Madeline (Ahern) Gladu:
1. Theodore Ernest Gladu, b.19/9 May 1921; d 3 June 2002 in Valrico, Hillsborough Co., Florida; m. 9 Feb 1943 in Manchester NH to Rita Moren O’Gara, dau of James M. & Julia (Sweeney) O’Gara. He was a Flight Instructor in the Navy. Enlisted in US Navy 3 Juy 1941, released 1 Jan 1946; enlisted US Army 11 Sep 1950, released 25 July 1952.
2. Robert L. Gladu, b. 4 Aug 1922; d. 24 Jan 1979 Manchester NH; Enlisted 22 Sep 1942, released 6 Nov 1945.

Michael AHERN, son of Edmund/Edward & Ellen M. (Cahill) Ahern b December 1874 Manchester NH, and d. 18 Sep 1950; m. 20 Apr 1898 Manchester NH to to Amanda Durant. She b abt 1877 in Canada or Lincoln NH, and d. 17 May 1954. She immigrated in 1883 and was naturalized in 1891. In 1910 Michael was a Saloon bartender in Manchester NH
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
213 Silver Street
Ahern, Edmund Head W M July 1850 49 married 28 yrs b Ire immigrated 1872 naturalized agent life insurance
Ahern, Ellen M. wife W F Oct 1851 48 married 28 yrs 9 ch 6 living Ire immigrated 1869 [she d. 20 Oct 1912 buried St J. Cem.
Ahern, Anna M. dau W F May 1877 23 single b NH Ire Ire shoe shop
Ahern, Maggie A. dau W F May 1877 23 single cotton mill [d. 7 Nov 1926 Manchester NH single]
Ahern, John Francies son W M Dec 1881 18 single shoe shop [b 18 Dec 1881]
Ahern, Thomas A son w m Sep 1883 16 single shoe shop
Ahern, Edmund [Edward Augustine Ahern] son W M 6 Aug 1885 14 single at school
—living next door–
Ahern, Michael E. Head WM Dec 1874 25 married 2 yrs shoe shop
Ahern, Amanda wife W F Sep 1877 22 married 2 yrs 1 ch 1 living VT Can Can
Ahern, Amanda dau W F Oct 1898 1 single NH NH VT
MISSING FRIENDS, 19 Dec 1874; The Boston Pilot
OF WILLIAM AHERN, a native of Flemingstown, Mitchelstown, county Cork, who left home about ten years ago; when last heard of was in San Francisco, Cal. Information of him will be received by his brother, Edmund Ahern, No. 72 Park Street, Manchester, N.H.
1890 Manchester City Directory
Ahern, Edmund, saloon, 629 Elm, house 619 do.
Children of Michael & Amanda (Durant) Ahern:
1. +Madeline Amanda Ahern, b 29 Oct 1898 in Manchester NH
2. Helen “Ellen” Ahern, b. 21 Nov 1900 Manchester NH
3. Edward P. Ahern, b 14 March 1903 Manchester NH, died 31 May 1996 Hillsborough Co. NH; m. 25 Aug 1924 to Mabel Kelly, daughter of James & Anna (Lavoie) Kelly. She was b. about 1905 in Manchester NH.
4. Mary M. Ahern, b about 1905 NH
5. John Francis Ahern, b about 1907 NH; m. 1 Sep 1930 in Manchester NH to Mary Margaret Devine, daughter of John & Honora (Flatley) Devine.
6. Michael C. Ahern, b. 1911; m. 4 June 1934 in Manchester NH to Louise Haggerty, dau of Joseph B. & Mary Rose (Leahy) Haggerty
7. Francis T. Ahern, b. 1914; graduated 1937 from the University of NH; enlisted from Portland Maine on 17 September 1940 in the Coast Artillery Corps or Army Mine Planter Service for 1 year enlistment
8. Kevin Oscar Ahern, b. about 1918, died 18 January 1946 (see below); m. 24 July 1943 in Manchester NH to Gertrude Dorothea Powers, daughter of James J. & Gertrude (Scannell) Powers. [Killed in Action, Missing at Manila Philippines, Awarded Purple Heart; Ensign, Supply Corps, USNR. Wife, Mrs. Gertrude P. Ahern, 28 Clark St. Manchester.]


1. Portsmouth Herald and other  newspapers, various dates
2. Family Search–Vital Records, New Hampshire
3. U.S. Census Records, various years
4. New Hampshire Notables, Presenting Biographical Sketches of Men and Women who have helped shape the character of New Hampshire and Their Communities; 1955, The Concord Press, Concord NH

 ***Additional Reading***

USS Manchester (CL 83) Crew List

Wikipedia: USS Manchester (CL83)

John Lawrence Sullivan, Secretary of the Navy

**NEW SHIP in 2016, USS Manchester (LCS14), christening. [FaceBook video]
Video: LCS14–commissioning ceremony in 2018

[Editor’s note: article updated January 2016 and May 2018]

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