William Newton Beecher
Almira Correlia Swain
William John Robertson
Clara Bell Tabb
William Gordon Beecher Sr.
Mary Gertrude Robertson
Vice Admiral William Gordon Beecher Jr.


Family Links

1. Carvilla Brian Benson

Vice Admiral William Gordon Beecher Jr. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

  • Born: 19 Jan 1904, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 2 3 9 10
  • Marriage (1): Carvilla Brian Benson on 23 May 1927 in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 1
  • Died: 7 Dec 1973, Alexandria, Alexandria, VA at age 69 3 10
  • Buried: Arlington: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 10 11

   FamilySearch ID: 9ZHM-FFD.

  Burial Notes:


  Noted events in his life were:

1. Evidence: An article about Gordon Beecher is on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Beecher.

2. Occupation: Composer, author, naval officer. 12 Biography for Lt. W.J. Beecher.

Composer, author, and naval officer, educated at the United States Naval Academy (BS) and at the National War College. He served 34 years in the US Navy, retiring as Vice Admiral in 1955. He directed the USNA Musical Clubs in 1933-1935. In World War II he was commander of a destroyer squadron, and fought at Pearl Harbor, Iwa Jima, and Okinawa (for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit). He was Chief of Naval Information in 1954-1955 and Commander of the Middle East Force in 1954. He joined ASCAP in 1944, and his chief musical collaborator was Johnny Noble. His compositions include "A Song of Old Hawaii"; "Sing an American Song"; "Counting On You"; "All Pau Now"; "Nimitz, Halsey and Me"; "Just a Happy Kamaaina"; "Up and At 'Em, Navee!" (USNA football song); and "The Ramparts We Watch" (for the first March of Time film). Many of his songs are under the name "Gordon Beecher".

3. Occupation: poet. At the "National Museum of the Pacific War," the online gift store sells...
Nimitz, Halsey and Me by William Gordon Beecher
Reprint of a poem written by a naval captain, William Gordon Beecher, about the claims of an imaginary sailor named Patsy McCoy. These verses were a favorite of Admiral Nimitz.

4. Census in 1910 in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD. 2 Renting at 401 Seminole Ave was Gordon W. Beecher, architect, 33. He was married for 7 years to wife Gertrude R., 29. She had given birth to 3 children: W. Gordon Jr., 6; Mary, 4; and Clara G., 11 months old on May 9, 1910 when the census was recorded. Also in the home was Clara B. Robertson, mother in law, 55, married for 32 years with 4 children, including 2 daughters living with her: Ethel K., 27, single; and C. M., 23, single. Everyone was born in Maryland except the mother-in-law in Virginia.

5. Census in 1920 in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD. 13 William G. Beecher, architect, 42, was living with wife Gertrude, 38; William G. Jr., 15; Mary I., 13; C. Gertrude, 10; and C. Robertson Beecher, 7. Also with them: Clara B. Robertson, mother in law, 64, widowed; and C. Myrtle Robertson, sister in law, clerk in a telephone company, 32. William was renting his home at 254 Frederick Ave. Everyone and their parents were born in Maryland, except Gertrude's mother Clara was born Virginia of Virginian parents.

6. Military from 22 Jun 1921 to 1 Aug 1955 in , , , USA: Served in the U.S. Navy. 14

7. Newspaper: Baltimore Sun, 22 Jun 1921, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD. 15 Catonsville Boy Admitted To The U. S Naval Academy
WILLIAM GORDON BEECHER, JR. As the result of entrance examinations Mr. Beecher, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Gordon Beecher, Sr., of Athol Gate, Catonsville, entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis yesterday, He received his appointment through former Congressman Carville D. Benson. For three years he attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and then took up a preparatory course at the Army-Navy School.

8. He was educated at William Gordon Beecher Jr.'s photo appears in the 1925 Lucky Bag Yearbook at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1925 in Annapolis, Anne Arundel, MD. 16

9. Newspaper: Baltimore Sun: Miss C. B. Benson Weds Ensign W. G. Beecher Jr., 24 May 1927, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD. 1 Ceremony Is Performed In Mount Vernon Place Methodist Episcopal Church.

Miss C. B. Benson Weds Ensign W. G. Beecher Jr.

The wedding of Miss Carvilla B. Benson and Ensign William Gordon Beecher, U. S. N. took place last evening at Mount Vernon Place Methodist Episcopal Church. The ceremony performed by the Rev. R. Reid Isaac, Jr., pastor of the Halethorpe Methodist Episcopal Church. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carville D. Benson. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Gordon Beecher.

The maid of honor was Miss Harlette Benson, sister of the bride, and the bridesmaids were the Misses Virginia and Gertrude Beecher, sisters of the bridegroom, Miss Betty Dare Flinn, of New York, and Miss Carylilla Helfrich, cousin of the bride. The best man was Ensign James Stuart Smith Jr. of the U. S. S. Kidder, to which the bridegroom is attached.

The bride wore her grandmother's wedding dress of white satin. The tulle veil caught with orange blossoms, and carried a shower bouquet of yellow roses and lilies of the valley. The maid of honor wore a dress or corn-colored taffeta made in period style and carried a Deesden bouquet.

The bridesmaids wore applegreen taffeta dresses, made in period style and carried Deesden bouquets.

The ushers were Lieut. M. R. Kelley of the Naval Academy, Lieut. W. P. E. Wadbrook, Naval Academy, Ensign W. J. Longfellow, U. S. S. Arizona, Ensign J. H. Griffin, U. S. Pennsylvania, Ensign P. D. Compton, U. S. S. Raleigh, and Ensign L. H. Burkhead, Naval Academy.

10. Census in 1930 in Coronado, San Diego, CA, USA. 17 The 1930 census recorded renting for $50 a month at 416 D Avenue: William G. Beecher Jr., lieutenant in U.S. Navy, 26, living with wife Carvilla, 23, and daughter Virginia, 1 year 11 months. Virginia was born in California and her parents and their parents in Maryland.

11. Residence: Beecher, Wm. G (Carvilla B) USN r 416 D Avenue, San Diego, CA in 1930 in San Diego, San Diego, CA. 18

12. Residence: Beecher Wm G (Carvilla) USN h 1215 3rd Avenue, San Diego, CA in 1932 in San Diego, San Diego, CA. 19

13. S.S. Lurline Departing Los Angeles 14 Jun 1935 Arriving Honolulu 20 Jun 1935 Beecher, William 31, Beecher, Carvilla 28, Beecher, Virginia 7, Beecher, Gordon 2 on 20 Jun 1935 in Honolulu, Honolulu, HI. 20

14. SS Lurline, Depart Honolulu, HI 15 Jan 1938 Arrive Los Angeles, CA 22 Jan 1938 Beecher, William, 33, Beecher, Carvilla, 31, Beecher, Virginia, 9, Beecher, Gordon, 4 on 15 Jan 1938 in Honolulu, Honolulu, HI. 21

15. He served in the military on 1 Oct 1941. COMMANDING OFFICERS BY SIGNAL NUMBER, OCTOBER 1, 1941

The Confidential Notices detailing the organization of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets as of October 1, 1941 included a listing of commanding officers along with their signal numbers indicating where they stood on the permanent list of line officers. This list is more than just a list of admirals and other officers; a compilation of the available data, it shows each officers name, rank, and signal number, and the command position he held. In part, this indicates how prestigious each type of command was, as presumably the higher ranking the officer, the more important the command, and within each type of command, the amount of time the officer had held that command.
The full list is online at http://www.geocities.com/scs028a/1941Commanders.html and includes:
Lt. commander W. G. Beecher Jr. commanded the USS Pruitt - DM (P).

16. SS Aquintania, Depart Honolulu, Arrive San Pedro, CA 10 Apr 1942 on 10 Apr 1942 in Honolulu, Honolulu, HI. 22 Beecher, Carvilla, 35
Beecher, Virginia, 13
Beecher, Gordon Lee, 8.

17. Census in 1950 in Arlington, Arlington, VA. 23 The 1950 census recorded at 1820 N. Hartford Street: William G. Beecher, U.S. Navy, 46, living with wife Carvilla B., 43; Virginia B., 21; Gordon L., 16. Everyone was born in Maryland except Virginia in California. In 1949 they lived in Honolula, Hawaii.

18. Newspaper: Composer W. G. Beecher, 31 Mar 1953, Norfolk, Norfolk, VA. 24 W. G. Beecher to Produce Show For Navy Relief on April 11
Career Officer of 28 Years Has Written 700 Songs
Was Hollywood Advisor in "Shipmates Forever"
Capt. William Gordon Beecher, Jr., U.N., is a career officer of 28 years commissioned service. Since 1925, when he was graduated from the Naval Academy, he has served at sea in battleships, cruisers, light minelayers and destroyers and has commanded ships, divisions and squadrons.
He has had many tours of duty in public relations, and served in that field as special assistant to the late Secretary James V. Forrestal. His present duty is commanding officer, Naval Amphibious Training Unit, Little Creek.
Captain Beecher is also a composer, musician and author, and just now he is giving invaluable aid in shaping up entertainment for the Navy Relief Ball at Rockwell Hall, which will feature a floor show 'Bring Back Vaudeville."
For his services off Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1944, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with combat distinguishing device.
In addition, Captain Beecher has the Commendation Ribbon awarded by the Secretary of the Navy for "outstanding performance of duty" as deputy director and acting director of public relations, 1943-1944; the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (USS Raleigh); American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic -Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal, and Japanese Occupation Medal.
Captain Beecher has always been an ardent devotee of music. As a midshipman, he participated in four successive Naval Academy Musical Club presentations, contributing original music scores to each production. He is co-author of the Academy football song, "Up and At 'Em Navy," written in 1925 and still sung at Navy football games.
Produced A Dozen Shows
During a tour of the Academy as a duty officer in the '30's, he produced and directed three productions of the musical club and two of the Dramatic Club's masquerades. He has participated as performer or director in a dozen Navy relief shows in Annapolis Washington, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Honolulu.
In 1935, the Navy Department lent his services to Warner Brothers, where he was technical advisor on the musical movie, "Shipmates Forever," starring Dick Powell. He collaborated with Harry Warren and Al Dubin in the son, "Don't Give Up The Ship," for that production.
He is the composer and author of 700 songs including "A Song of Old Hawaii" "The Ramparts We Watch" and "Nimitz, Halsey and Me."
Besides his music production and motion picture activities, he has had experience in radio recording and television. In 1950 with Adm. D. C. Ramsey and Capt. John Waters, he appeared in Ted Mack's VIP Heart Fund show, featured nationally from Washington on the radio and from New York on television.
In 1944 Captain Beecher was admitted to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

19. Occupation: Chief of information in the Department of the Navy on 23 Sep 1954 in Alexandria, Alexandria, VA. 5

20. Residence: on 27 Jan 1963 in Arlington, Arlington, VA. 4

21. Occupation: military correspondent to the New York TImes in 1969 in New York, New York, NY. 1969: Reporter Breaks the News of Secret Bombing in Cambodia. William Beecher, military correspondent for the New York Times, publishes a front page dispatch from Washington, "Raids in Cambodia by U.S. Unprotested," which accurately described the first of the secret B-52 bombing raids in Cambodia. Within hours, Henry Kissinger, presidential assistant for national security affairs, contacted J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking him to find the governmental sources of Beecher's article. During the next two years, Alexander Haig, a key Kissinger assistant, transmitted the names of National Security Council staff members and reporters who were to have their telephones wiretapped by the FBI.

22. Residence: on 11 Mar 1972 in Alexandria, Alexandria, VA. 25 A letter discussing their family genealogy was sent to Vice Admiral W. Gordon Beecher at 2500 N. Van Dorn St., Alexandria, Virginia 22302 on March 11, 1972 by Craig Bennett of Charleston, SC who is a descendent of Sarah Salome Beecher b.1796.

23. Cause of Death: William died at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital from portal cirrhosis coma, 7 Dec 1973, Arlington, Arlington, VA. 8

24. LifeSketch: Naval History and Heritage Command: William Gordon Beecher, Jr., on 7 Dec 1973, in Washington, District of Columbia, DC, USA. 26 William Gordon Beecher, Jr., was born in Catonsville, Baltimore, Maryland, January 19, 1904, son of William G. and Gertrude (Robertson) Beecher. He attended high school in Catonsville and the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

In 1921 he entered the US Naval Academy from the Second Congressional District of Maryland. While a midshipman he was a member of the Combined Musical Clubs and wrote four musical shows. He graduated from Annapolis and was commissioned Ensign in 1925. His advancement to Captain dates from July 20, 1943. On July 24, 1953, the President approved his selection for promotion to Rear Admiral, USN, and on August 3, the Senate confirmed the selection to date from October 1, 1953. On August 1, 1955 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy, and was advanced to the rank of Vice Admiral on the basis of combat awards.

Beginning his naval career in 1925 as Junior officer consecutively in the battleships Texas and Arizona, he served aboard the cruiser Raleigh and the destroyers Kidder and Roper, and was Chief Engineer Officer in the oiler Neches. From July 1932 until May 1935 he served in the Executive Department of the Naval Academy and following that duty, was in turn Executive Officer of USS Montgomery and USS Sicard, both light minelayers with the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor.

In February 1938 he reported to the Navy Department for duty as Assistant to the Director of Public Relations, in which duty he served until March 1940. He later assumed command of USS Pruitt flagship of Mine Division ONE, Pacific Fleet. On December 2, 1941 he was transferred to command the destroyer Flusser. From July 6, 1942 until October 14, 1943, he was assistant to the Director of the Navy Department's Office of Public Relations; and from October 14, 1943 until August 1944, was Deputy Director.

He assumed command of Mine Division SEVEN in September 1944. For his services with the command, which operated off Iwo Jima, Okinawa, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V." The citation read in part: "For exceptionally meritorious conduct…as Commander Mine Division SEVEN in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa from March 19 to May 12, 1945. During a period of intensive hostile air action, (he) maintained the ships of his division and others temporarily under his command at a peak of efficiency in operation…during this vital campaign, operating successfully for extended periods of time in dangerous and incompletely charter waters…"

From May 1945 until early in 1946 he was Commander Destroyer Squadron 53. The command consisted of the flagship Cushing and eight other destroyers operating with Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet. His squadron participated in strikes on Japanese home islands during the closing days of the war. In July 1945, the destroyers in the squadron skirted along the southern coast of Honshu and bombarded radio stations and airports ashore. After the occupation of Japan, Destroyer Squadron 53 sailed into Sagami Wan ahead of the battleship Iowa, and served as picket and harbor control ships in Tokyo Bay.

Returning to the West Coast in November 1945, he later reported to the Navy Department for temporary duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. On March 19, 1946 he became District Public Information Officer, Third Naval District and Eastern Sea Frontier, in New York City. The following June he was ordered as Special Assistant for Public Relations to James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy. He was relieved of that duty in July 1947, and was a student at the National War College, Washington, DC for a year. The next year he was a member of the Joint Staff of Admiral D. C. Ramsey, USN, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific.

In the summer of 1949 he was ordered to duty in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC. Later that year he was assigned to the Standing Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On August 18, 1951 he assumed command of Transport Division TWENTY ONE, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. Upon completion of that duty in July 1952, he assumed command of the Naval Amphibious Training Unit, an element of the Amphibious Training Command, US Atlantic Fleet. He also had additional duty as Chief of Staff and Aide to Rear Admiral Rufus E. Rose, USN, Commander Amphibious Training Command, US Atlantic Fleet, at the US Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. In January 1954 he became Commander Middle East Force.

He became Chief of Information, Navy Department on July 1, 1954, serving in that capacity until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective August 1, 1955.

In addition to the Legion of Merit, Vice Admiral Beecher holds the Commendation Ribbon awarded by the Secretary of the Navy for "outstanding performance of duty" as Deputy Director and Acting Director of Public Relations, 1943-44; the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal.

Vice Admiral Beecher's hobby for many years has been song writing. He is the composer of some 700 songs. Many of these have been published, and among them are "A Song of Old Hawaii", "Nimitz, Halsey and Me", and the musical score for "The Ramparts We Watch", a movie by The March of Time. He was technical advisor for the Warner Brothers' movie Shipmates Forever and contributed to the lyrics of the picture's theme song "Don't Give Up the Ship." He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

He died December7, 1973.

25. Residence: 2500 N. Van Dorn St., Alexandria, VA on 7 Dec 1973 in Alexandria, Alexandria, VA. 8

26. Obituary: Honolulu Advertiser: Admiral Beecher dies in Virginia on 23 Dec 1973 in Honolulu, Honolulu, HI. 27 Admiral Beecher dies in Virginia Vice Adm.
(photo) William Gordon Beecher Jr. (ret.), author of the 1938 song hit, A Song of Old Hawaii, died Dec. 7 in Arlington, Va. He was 69. Admiral Beecher, who led Mine Division 7 and Destroyer Squadron 53 in action at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, composed some 700 songs as a hobby. Among his published songs are the musical score for The Ramparts We Watch and Nimitz, Halsey and Me. He was a member of the joint staff of CinCPac in 1948 and later became commander, Middle East Force, and in 1954 the chief of information for the Navy Department. Admiral Beecher was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Navy Secretary's Commendation Ribbon and numerous medals for his service in World War II. He is survived by his wife, Carvilla B.; daughter, Mrs. J. Bruce Scrymgeour of Virginia; son, Gordon L. of Florida; two sisters, Mrs. Harry H. Henderson of Virginia and Mrs. H. Graham Wood of Maryland; and three-grandchildren.

William married Carvilla Brian Benson, daughter of Carville Dickinson Benson and Harriette Cassard Miller, on 23 May 1927 in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD.1 (Carvilla Brian Benson was born on 27 Jun 1906 in Halethorpe, Baltimore, MD,3 28 died on 9 Nov 1986 in McLean, Fairfax, VA, USA 3 28 29 and was buried in Arlington: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 29.)


1 Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 24 May 1927, page 3. Marriage of Miss C. B. Benson and Ensign W. G. Beecher Jr.

2 1910 United States Census, Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore District 1, Series: T624 Roll: 550 Page: 42.

3 U.S. Social Security Death Index.

4 Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 28 Jan 1963, pages 1 and 11, obituary of William Gordon Beecher.

5 Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 24 Sep 1954, page 17. Obituary of Mrs. Gertrude Beecher.

6 FamilySearch.org, Virginia, Marriage Certificates, 1936-1988, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK9X-D8PP Gordon Lee Beecher m. 29 Jul 1961 Carolyn Ann Jones Norfolk VA.

7 Dignity Memorial, https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/arlington-va/virginia-scrymgeour-10493392.

8 FamilySearch.org, Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987, Certificate 73-038851 William Gordon Beecher Jr. b. 19 Jan 1904 d. 7 Dec 1973 father William Gordon Beecher mother Mary Gertrude Robertson spouse Carvilla B. Beecher.

9 Internet Movie Database (IMDb) (http://www.imdb.com), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0066328/.

10 Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/ has online gravsite locator.), Section 1 Site 305-B.

11 Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?GRid=21149597&page=gr.

12 Internet Movie Database (IMDb) (http://www.imdb.com), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0066328/bio.

13 1920 United States Census, Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore Ward 28, Series: T625 Roll: 667 Page: 257.

14 Ancestry.com, U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 (Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.), Record for William Beecher, SSN 223-50-6846.

15 Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 22 Jun 1921, page 20.

16 Ancestry.com, U.S. School Yearbooks, United States Naval Academy, 1925 Lucky Bag Yearbook, printed page 140, online image 151. Photo and article for William Gordon Beecher Jr.

17 1930 United States Census, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XC68-NMP William G. Belcher Jr. Coronado CA.

18 Ancestry.com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, 1930 San Diego Directory, page 1206.

19 Ancestry.com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, 1932 San Diego City Directory, page 1054, image 546.

20 Ancestry.com, Honolulu, Hawaii, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1900-1959 (National Archives, Washington, D.C.Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Departing from Honolulu, Hawaii, 12/1957-9/1969. NARA Microfilm Publication A3577 56 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004, Record Group 85. National Archives, Washington, D.C.), Nara Roll: 156. William Beecher and family.

21 FamilySearch.org, California, Los Angeles Passenger Lists, 1907-1948, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KZQH-G7L William and family.

22 FamilySearch.org, California, Los Angeles Passenger Lists, 1907-1948, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KZQH-G7L Carvilla B. and children.

23 "1950 United States Census," https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6XLJ-KBX3 William G Beecher Arlington VA.

24 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), 31 Mar 1953, page 23.

25 Letter from Craig Bennett (On file at the Adams County Historical Society, Gettysburg, Adams County, PA.
Mar 11 1972 letter from Craig M. Bennett, 31 Meeting St, Charleston Sc 29401, to Vice Admiral William Gordon Beecher of Alexandria, VA, describing the antique hand-painted fracturs cica 1800 proving birth of Samuel to father Henry Büger in possession of Craig, a descendent.
http://www.emmitsburg.net/achs/), March 11, 1972.

26 U.S. Navy Department Library, "Naval History and Heritage Command," https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/research-guides/modern-biographical-files-ndl/modern-bios-b/beecher-william-gordon-jr.html.

27 "The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, HI)," 23 Dec 1973, page 69. Obituary of Admiral Beecher.

28 FamilySearch.org, Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVY5-HVW7 Carvilla B. Beecher b. 27 Jun 1906 d. 9 Nov 1986 father Carville D. Benson mother Harriette C. Miller.

29 Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35528986&.

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