Dwight H. Dawes, a Navy officer on the USS Pillsbury, which captured a German submarine and vital enemy secrets during World War II, died Jan. 26. He was 92 and lived in Elk Grove.
Mr. Dawes was a communications and anti-submarine officer on the Pillsbury, a destroyer escort assigned to a carrier group in the Atlantic. The ship sank two German U-boats operating along Allied convoy routes.
In a major victory, the Pillsbury captured the German submarine U-505 in June 1944. Besides taking its crew captive, U.S. sailors seized code books, mining field maps and other top-secret German intelligence. Meanwhile, Mr. Dawes led efforts to contain damage caused to the Pillsbury when the floundering U-boat pierced the ship's side.
"It cut a gash in the fourth deck," said his wife, Cris Powell. "He was up to his neck in water moving wires up to the third deck and then the second deck."
The U-505 was towed under wraps and its crew was kept incommunicado to keep the boat's capture secret. The Pillsbury crew received a Presidential Unit Citation for exceptional bravery and achievement, and Mr. Dawes left active duty after the war as a lieutenant commander. He served in the Navy Reserve until 1952.
Born in 1919 in Springfield, S.D., he graduated from the University of Iowa and was an accountant in Michigan and Arizona. He moved to California and established a winery in Lake County before settling in the Sacramento area in 1988.
Mr. Dawes was married for 43 years to his first wife, Eleanor, who died in 1986.
Besides Powell, his second wife, he is survived by his daughters, Linda Olmstead of Shasta City, Carol of Hayfork, and Patricia Munchheimer of Eureka; stepdaughters, Carleen Paganucci of Elk Grove, and Lauri Lathrop of Sacramento; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A celebration of life is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Lakeside Clubhouse, 2620 Granite Park Lane, Elk Grove.