JOSEPH A. MCGINLEY, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Joseph McGinley '21

Date of birth: November 10, 1898

Date of death: December 17, 1927

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1921 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Joseph was lost on December 17, 1927 when USS S-4 (SS 109) sank immediately following a collision with USCG Paulding (CG 17) near Cape Code, Massachusetts.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

A son never had a more devoted father than Joseph. When the news came to Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Joseph’s submarine had sunk, father Joseph immediately went to Provincetown, Massachusetts. He confronted Admiral Frank H. Brumby asking why wasn’t a submarine tender escorting the S-4 while on their test run. In a yellow slicker, his father stayed in the open boat used by the news reporters. When the Admiral came back to the harbor, and replied to the newspapers that he “just wanted to” -- his father said, “Hardly, common courtesy. I should think it might be of interest to the families and nation to give something more than that display.”

Joseph had been ordered to shore duty recently, but he agreed to stay on the submarine one more month so a fellow officer could stay home for Christmas. The submarine had finished its test run and started to surface when it was hit by the Paulding. Over the next few days, the submarine continued to sink in quicksand, and one Navy diver died from the “bends.” She was finally raised on March 17, 1928.

Joseph’s father was the publisher of the Norristown Times, but since its sale, he was in real estate. His mother was Bridget, and his sister was Eleanor. Joseph’s wife Adeline and eight-month-old daughter Adeline were living in San Diego but came to Norristown for the holidays. Adeline later married Homer Clark, foreman of an auto shop in Detroit.

Joseph had been appointed to the Naval Academy by Congressman Henry W. Watson. In conversations with his father, Joseph knew submarine service was dangerous, but he had an explanation for the S-51 sinking in 1925 and was positive that a disaster would never overtake any submarine he served on. He told his father that he was enthusiastic about the submersibles and enjoyed the lure of the sea and friendships that he made in the service.

He was survived by his wife and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

William Callaway '11, Roy Jones '16, Graham Fitch '23, and Donald Weller '23 were also lost when S-4 sank.

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 1921

Ensign, USS New York


Others at this command:

January 1922

Ensign, USS Pattnall

May 1923

Ensign, USS Chase

July 1923

Ensign, under instruction, USS Chewink


Others at this command:

September 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink


Others at this command:

November 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink


Others at this command:

January 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink

March 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), staff, Submarine Division 12, USS Rainbow


Others at this command:

May 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

July 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

September 1924

Ensign, USS S-4

November 1924

Ensign, USS S-4

January 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

March 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

May 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

July 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

October 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4


Others at this command:

January 1926

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4


Others at this command:

October 1926

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4


Others at this command:

January 1927

Lieutenant, USS S-4


Others at this command:

April 1927

Lieutenant, USS S-4


Others at this command:

October 1927

Lieutenant, USS S-4


Others at this command:


Class of 1921

Joseph 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 the alumni in Memorial Hall.