ADDIS D. NELSON, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Addis Nelson '21

Date of birth: December 24, 1897

Date of death: November 9, 1927

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1921 Lucky Bag:

1921 Nelson LB.jpg

Addis Dewey Nelson

Brookline, Massachusetts

"Nellie" "Neb" "Monk"

LOOK him over, people. A true snake who conforms to the ancient rites and traditions of the favored brotherhood. Any Saturday night over at a hop, all you had to do was to look around the deck, and you could immediately pick out our dashing Addis from the remainder of the laboring swains. The only trouble is that he is so terribly bashful—that being one of the reasons why he didn't go out for the gym team after he had become a nonchalant Youngster.

Our Nellie wields a deadly racquet, and as for sailing, he is a veritable old man of the sea. He is perfectly at home in calm or storm, but prefers to anchor during squalls. With a skag in his face and his hand on the tiller, he is in his natural element.

Besides his many other accomplishments, he has made many a night horrible with his violin. It's wonderful what music can do for one. His friends still remain true, even after such a night's session.

When all is said and done, he is a true and staunch friend and hasn't an enemy in the Academy; and what more can be said?

"H—l, Jake! My hair's coming out again."

Gym Team (4); Tennis Team (3, 2, 1); Captain Tennis Team (1); Winner Thompson Trophy Sailing Race; Two Stripes.


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Addis was graduated with 1921B.

1921 Nelson LB.jpg

Addis Dewey Nelson

Brookline, Massachusetts

"Nellie" "Neb" "Monk"

LOOK him over, people. A true snake who conforms to the ancient rites and traditions of the favored brotherhood. Any Saturday night over at a hop, all you had to do was to look around the deck, and you could immediately pick out our dashing Addis from the remainder of the laboring swains. The only trouble is that he is so terribly bashful—that being one of the reasons why he didn't go out for the gym team after he had become a nonchalant Youngster.

Our Nellie wields a deadly racquet, and as for sailing, he is a veritable old man of the sea. He is perfectly at home in calm or storm, but prefers to anchor during squalls. With a skag in his face and his hand on the tiller, he is in his natural element.

Besides his many other accomplishments, he has made many a night horrible with his violin. It's wonderful what music can do for one. His friends still remain true, even after such a night's session.

When all is said and done, he is a true and staunch friend and hasn't an enemy in the Academy; and what more can be said?

"H—l, Jake! My hair's coming out again."

Gym Team (4); Tennis Team (3, 2, 1); Captain Tennis Team (1); Winner Thompson Trophy Sailing Race; Two Stripes.


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Addis was graduated with 1921B.

Loss

Addis was lost on November 9, 1927 when his airplane crashed into the Lafayette river “near 51st Street” in Norfolk, Virginia. (Information from death certificate.)

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Addis was killed when his Curtiss Hawk S 6-C 3 collided with an Army Martin bomber, Keystone LD-5. The three men from the bomber parachuted to safety. Their plane clipped a rooftop before landing in the Lafayette River. Addis’ plane fell into Tanner’s Creek near the Country Club. He was still strapped in, so it was presumed he suffered his skull fracture when the planes collided.

Born in Winchester, Addis was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father Frank was a public accountant, and his mother was Anna Dewey Nelson. His older brother was Winthrop, a bank teller. Addis married Bessie Turner on May 18, 1926, in Pensacola.

After serving on the cruiser Concord, the U.S.S. Florida, and other ships, he took the flying course two years before his death. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

He earned his wings as naval aviator #3237 on September 11, 1925.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1922
Ensign, USS Nevada

Others at this command:
May 1923
Ensign, USS Barry
July 1923
Ensign, USS Barry
September 1923
Ensign, USS Barry
November 1923
Ensign, USS Barry
January 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
March 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
May 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
July 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
September 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
November 1924
Ensign, USS Barry
January 1925
Ensign, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

March 1925
Ensign, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

May 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

January 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), for assignment, Aircraft Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, USS Wright
October 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3, USS Concord
January 1927
Lieutenant (j.g.), Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3, USS Concord
April 1927
Lieutenant, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S
October 1927
Lieutenant, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S


Class of 1921

Addis is one of 32 members of the Class of 1921 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.