Thanksgiving Dinner in the Navy

Lester’s memory book included an engraved menu card for the dinner served to Navy personnel on November 20, 1941.


Inside, beside a list of  officers–commanding officer, executive officer and commissary officers–was the menu for the day.

Cream of Tomato Soup with saltine crackers

Roast Tom Turkey

Baked Spiced Ham

Apple Dressing

Giblet Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Picles

Ripe Olives

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Buttered Asparagus

Hearts of Celery

Pumpkin Pie

Neapolitan Ice Cream

Hot Sweet Rolls




Perhaps Lester mailed this menu home after the holiday to prove how well the Navy was feeding him and the other sailors.

It sounds like a delicious dinner, with much to reflect on the blessings of the previous year. Little did anyone know that before another month was out–in only seventeen days–the situation would change dramatically with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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