From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Friend Jenkins '86

Date of birth: June 26, 1865

Date of death: February 15, 1898

Age: 32

Naval Academy Register

Friend William Jenkins was admitted to the Naval Academy from Pennsylvania on September 28, 1882 at age 17 years 3 months.


Photo scanned and provided by Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D., Head of Special Collections & Archives/Archivist at the Naval Academy's Nimitz Library
1886 Jenkins 2.jpg

From Find A Grave:

United States Naval Officer. A Lieutenant in the United States Navy, he was one of two officers killed in the sinking of the "USS Maine" in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. He drowned when he was unable to reach an escape hatch as the vessel quickly sank. His remains were returned to his native Pittsburgh, where they lay in state at City Hall.

Friend is buried in Pennsylvania. He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall under the heading "MAINE EXPLOSION 1898."


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Naval Cadet, 28 September, 1882. Ensign, 1 July, 1888. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, 5 January, 1897. Drowned 15 February, 1898.


Jenkins Road aboard Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren is named for him.


Friend's classmates erected a plaque in his honor in Memorial Hall. It reads in part: "He spoke evil of no man."

Related Articles

Darwin Merritt '95 and John Blandin '82 were also aboard Maine when she was destroyed.

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.

February 1887

Naval Cadet, Atlanta

January 1888

Naval Cadet, Atlanta

January 1889

Ensign, Tallapoosa

January 1890

Ensign, Coast Survey steamer Gedney

January 1891

Ensign, Coast Survey steamer Patterson

January 1892

Ensign, Bennington

January 1893

Ensign, Bennington

July 1894

Ensign, Naval Ordnance Proving Grounds, Indian Head, Maryland

January 1895

Ensign, Naval Ordnance Proving Grounds, Indian Head, Maryland

January 1896

Ensign, Maine

January 1897

Ensign, Maine

January 1898

Lieutenant (j.g.), Maine

Others at this command:

Class of 1886

Friend is one of 2 members of the Class of 1886 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.