From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Anderson '31

Date of birth: October 17, 1908

Date of death: January 28, 1942

Age: 33

Lucky Bag

From the 1931 Lucky Bag:


Charles was lost on January 28, 1942 when he drowned near Iceland while serving aboard USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37). His tombstone is etched with the phrase "lost his life saving his men;" another man aboard Tuscaloosa was lost on the same day "when his launch was swamped." Seems reasonable to assume this was the same event.

Charles was first reported as missing, but within a couple of days was confirmed lost.

He was a member of the Naval Reserve (from Shipmate and 1941 Navy Directory).

He is buried in Georgia. He was survived by his wife, Lucille and son Charles Edison Anderson, Jr.. Another son, William, died at birth.

Though Charles was a graduate of the Naval Academy (#94 of 441 graduating), his "Voluntary resignation accepted immediately upon graduation." (Per 1932 Naval Academy Register.) Prior to the war he served in the Naval Reserves and practiced law in Millen, GA, including serving as a Justice of the Peace from 1935 to 1939.

Memorial Hall Error

Charles is not listed with his classmates. This omission was discovered by reviewing the September 1946 issue of Shipmate.

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.

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), naval reserve, USS Tuscaloosa

Class of 1931

Charles is one of 52 members of the Class of 1931 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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