West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Watt Espy, Navy Days!

The two images right above are of Watty on a fascinating port of call. He's sitting at a streetside cafe at a hotel in Rabat, French Morocco. The boy next to him is Jerry Quinn. In the other image, Watty is at Port Lyautey, French Morocco. The short boy on the left is Lester Axley. Watty could not remember the name of the boy in the center.

Here's a letter Watty wrote requesting a change of duty. Not sure if it was granted.

Below is a letter written by Uncle Watty when he was on his "tour of duty" with the US Navy. He was a mere 19 years old. Pay special attention to the paragraph where he expresses his concern with his aunt's upcoming trip to Europe. After reading Watty's entire letter, come back and click here to find out more about Aunt Frances' journey.

To read of Watty's encounter with Lucky Luciano while on this stint in the Navy, click here UPDATE:  I have several of Uncle Watty's books.  One is a Lucky Luciano biography.  The other day, while thumbing through it, I made a big discovery:  On a few pages, in the margins, Watty made some notes that support his story of meeting the mobster Lucky Luciano.  My plan in the next few days is to scan those pages and attach them to the Luciano post I am hyperlinking to in this paragraph.  Be sure to check it out.


Robert Rudasill said...

I was browsing and ran across your family history site...I have no pictures but I knew a Major Watt Espy when I was stationed at Port Lyautey, French Morocco...He had quite a reputation as a person with political pull, for instance, he was first sent to Naples, Italy and he stated to the Captain of the base that he did not want to be there but was flatly turned down...During a personnel inspection an Admiral was doing the inspection and he acknowledged Teleman Espy personally...The next thing that happened was Major was sent to NAVCOMMSTA Port Lyautey at a communication site....I remember him as rather eccentric but very likable...I say eccentric not in a derogatory sense but different than the rest of us wild sailors(i.e., after lights out sitting on the shower floor reading books etc...)I was at Port Lyautey from 1953-1954...If I am speaking of some one other than identified in your site...disregard this, but I do know he was from Alabama and his father had a great deal of influence with politicians in Washington DC...We both attended Teleman school at Bainbridge, Md.

Major Allen Espy said...


i have no doubt you found the right person. He was my uncle. Look under Watty Espy in categories on my blog and you can find a wealth of information on him. Watty was indeed eccentric, and quite a fascinating person who ended up making a big name for himself in the death penalty field. He passed away last year. I would love to talk with you. I live in Asheville, NC these days, but grew up in Headland, AL, which is where Watty was from. My family goes back several generations in Alabama. Thanks for contacting me. If you know anyone else who knew Watty and they are people you are in contact with, please pass along their names.

As for the idea that his dad (my granddad) had clout in Washington, I don't think it was that big. He had some regional clout and a lot within Alabama, especially in banking. Perhaps Uncle Watty was looking for a creative way to get out of some work?!?! lol

Thanks for your post.

Anonymous said...

Mr Espy - The other day, with nothing to do, I was Google-ing various names in my past and found your website under Major Watt Espy. Who could forget that name! I was in the navy (retired in 1974) and bunked with him at one of my earlier duty stations; I can't pin it down as to which one, but it was either boot camp in San Diego (July-September 1949), Naval Air Station Memphis (October-January 1950), Naval Air Station Pensacola (February-August 1950), Naval Air Station Miramar (for just a few months) or the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport RI (fall/winter of 1950-51) that was moved to a new base in Maryland in spring of 1951.

I do remember him as being not too "squared away" and not really caring as much about it as the drill instructors/classroom teachers thought he should. I remember also that he left early to go home and run for some local election, but that could have been only a rumor at the time that got stuck in my mind. Looks like he had a few interesting assignments after that.

Your website, and especially the details of Watty's later life are fascinating. I'm letting some shipmates know about it, those who may have also shared the navy life with him. Thank you for your work.

Stanley (Stan) Booth