From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Henry Hoyt '14

Date of birth: May 26, 1890

Date of death: August 24, 1921

Age: 31

Lucky Bag

From the 1914 Lucky Bag:


From the 1914 Lucky Bag

Henry was lost on August 24, 1921 when the British-built airship R-38, intended for US Navy use as ZR-2, crashed near Hull, England. Forty-four of the 49 men aboard died.

He is buried in Florida.

Navy Cross

From Home of Heroes:

The Navy Cross is awarded to Lieutenant Henry W. Hoyt, U.S. Navy, for heroism and devotion to duty in the line of his profession, while serving on the U.S.S. Huntington, when that vessel arrived in the war zone on September 17, 1917, he went up as observer in a captive balloon, known to be of an unsatisfactory type, and notwithstanding the danger, remained in the balloon during rain squalls followed by a stiff breeze, which caused the balloon to descend and deflate, rendering it unstable. The balloon was reeled in, but rolled about and pitched violently, injuring the observer, and finally the basket dragged under water. Lieutenant Hoyt was finally rescued from his desperate position by an enlisted man who went overboard from the ship.

Hoyt, Henry W.
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Balloon Observer, U.S.S. Huntington
Date Of Action: September 17, 1917

More information on this event is available in November 1918 issue of "Flying".


On July 2, 1943, at a celebration for the christening of the newest Goodyear-built K ship, Henry and eight other men lost in lighter-than-air flight were honored with a memorial tablet on a granite rock at the Wingfoot Lake station at Suffield, Ohio. The other honorees were: CDR Louis Maxfield '07, on the British ship ZR-2 in 1921, LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09 in the Shenandoah crash in 1925, LT Charles Bauch on the U.S.S. Akron in 1931, LCDR Emory Coil '12 in 1921, LT Arthur R. Houghton in 1925, LT J. B. Lawrence in 1925, LT C. G. Little in 1921, and LT Frank Trotter '23 in 1942.

Related Articles

Lewis Maxfield '07, Valentine Bieg '10, and Emory Coil '12 were also lost when ZR-2 crashed.

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 1915

Ensign, USS Nebraska

Others at this command:

January 1916

Ensign, USS Nebraska

January 1917

Ensign, Naval Aeronatic Station, Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command:

March 1918

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Rockaway, New York

January 1919

Lieutenant, USS B-3

January 1920

Lieutenant, USS Aroostook

January 1921

Lieutenant, USS R-38

Others at this command:

Class of 1914

Henry is one of 7 members of the Class of 1914 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.