Ship LST 542, USS Chelan County (LST-542)
Awards: American Theater; European Theater; Letter of Commendation; Victory Medal France; Victory Medal Normandy; New York State World War II Medal
Married to wife, Beatrice Kopliner Lamb in 1947
Father to Eric and Timothy
Grandfather to Jason, Scott, Jeremie and Kurt
Great-grandfather to Alex, Nicolas, Patrick, Emmi Kate, Conner, Hannah, Joseph, and Vivian
Brother to Wanda Poweski, Luella Briggs and Herb Lamb
U.S. Ship (LST 542) was built as the ship of her class. She was the first LST that had a water distilling plant and carried heavier armor then her sister ships. The only drawback was that her payload was slightly lowered.
Most LST - Landing Ship Tank - sailors called them large slow targets! The maximum speed built into a LST was about 11 knots; with that in mind and the fact that all ships in a convoy had to travel the speed of the slowest LST made them easy targets for enemy submarines. It also let them have their pick of the litter when the wolfpack attacks came. Keep in mind, most LST ships in a convoy were fully loaded with ammo, fuel and supplies that could end up on the bottom of the ocean with just one spark. Without the LST, there was a great chance of losing the war.
LST 542 was assigned to Europe and participated in the Normandy invasion carrying tanks, ammo and fuel to support the landing troops. After the war, she saw service in the Atlantic fleet.
Art was born Feb. 7, 1926, to Norman and Elsie Davidson Lamb who lived in Portland. Art graduated from Industrial High School in 1944. It only took Art three years instead of four years to graduate.
While in high school, Art played in the high school band -a drum player along with the guitar. One day after a basketball game, Art decided to join the U.S. Navy. His reason at the time was once a boy turned 18 and was not obligated to a certain branch, that you would automatically be forced to join the U.S. Army. So with that in mind, Art went out played a basketball game, showered and headed for the Navy recruiter and joined. No one in his family knew. Next thing you know, Art was off to Seneca Falls to start his Navy career.
When his Navy obligation was completed, he came back and played with the Hose 1 Drum and Bugle Corp, was a member of the Union of Operating Engineers Local 17 and retired in 1988. Art also held the position of vice president and administrator of training at the Union School in Lakewood for 14 years. He also held the position of the first vice president of Bart's Cove. Other organizations he was a member of include: Post 62 American Legion, Dunkirk Elks, Western New York LST Assn. International IUOE.
Art is presently on the Board of Directors of the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum. His hobbies include woodworking, metal working, leaded stain glass work, gardening, boating, snowmobiling and music.
When a person meets Art for the first time, it's remarkable how fast he becomes your friend. Frequently helping out at the lighthouse, Art greets the new visitors and immediately responds to any questions regarding their tour, always letting in any Marines who show that they were in the Department of the Navy.
You can view Art's Naval items along with LST Naval stories at the Veteran's Museum at the Dunkirk Lighthouse. Also on display at the lighthouse, you can view the wedding dress that his wife, Beatrice, wore on their wedding day. This beautiful dress was made out of a World War II parachute and also carries the history of four local additional marriages; Adeline Farnham's, Geraldine Prell's and Mary Harrington's.
Art Lamb, LST sailor, community giver, just a good man; our hero.