HARRY G. SKINNER, JR., ENS, USNRF

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Harry Skinner, Jr. '13

Date of birth: May 22, 1889

Date of death: November 19, 1917

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1913 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From the 1913 Lucky Bag

Harry was lost on November 19, 1917 when USS Chauncey (Destroyer No. 3) collided and sank with the British merchant steamer it was escorting west of Gibraltar.

He was survived by his parents and two sisters.

Biography

From researcher Kathy Franz:

In 1900 Harry’s father combined his three-generation ship building company with the Baltimore Dry Docks and Shipbuilding Company, capitalized at $1.6 million each. Harry’s great grandfather had started the company in 1830, and in the late 1890s, it was called William Skinner & Sons ship builders.

Harry’s mother was Gertrude, his brothers were Thompson, William Howard, Claude, and William Henry. His sisters were Margaret and Gertrude. In November 1917 most of the family was involved in government work. Harry’s father was marine superintendent of the Baltimore Expeditionary Depot. His mother was chairwoman of the Mount Washington Unit of the Navy League. It held card parties to raise money to purchase wool for navy outfits for the USS Nahma. Harry was on this ship at the time. One of his brothers named William was with the 117th Trench Mortar Battery, and the other was at Camp Meade. Thompson was engaged in the shipbuilding business, and sister Margaret was stenographer in a Food Administration office. Brother Claude was to enter the service shortly.

Harry had left the navy in December 1913, a few months after graduation. In 1916 he was working in an office on the 9th floor of the American Building. The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported that he re-enlisted in the Naval Reserve the winter before his death when it was evident that war was imminent. He was on the USS Nahma, an armed yacht acquired by the Navy on a free lease from the Goelet family. She reported to Gibraltar to join other American vessels as convoy escorts in the Mediterranean. Harry sent a postal card in November that he would be home for the holidays. He was traveling on the USS Chauncey went it collided with the British ship SS Rose one minute after seeing her. The Chauncey sunk in one hour at 1:47 a.m. Also lost were the ship’s crew, Lieutenant Commander Walter Reno (Class of 1905) and Lieutenant (jg) Charles Wedderburn (Class of 1915).

Memorial

Harry's classmates erected a plaque in his honor in Memorial Hall.

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 1914

resigned as Midshipman, December 9, 1913



Class of 1913

Harry is one of 9 members of the Class of 1913 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.