LAWRENCE J. MCPEAKE, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lawrence McPeake '24

Date of birth: February 21, 1902

Date of death: March 1, 1942

Age: 40

Lucky Bag

From the 1924 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Lawrence was lost on March 1, 1942 when USS Pecos (AO 6) was sunk by Japanese air attack.

From Wikipedia:

Executive Officer Lt. Commander Lawrence J. McPeake (Annapolis Class of 1924-Posthumously promoted to Commander after the war) was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor for his actions aboard Pecos. After the order to abandon ship was given by the ship's Captain, … Lt. Commander McPeake was seen engaging Japanese warplanes (Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive bombers) which were machine-gunning and strafing survivors in the sea. By some crewmembers' accounts, he was reported to have made it off of the ship after it went down. Others reported him last being seen manning the machine gun. In fact, he did swim away from the vessel as it was going down with one other officer from the crew. However, his body was never recovered and he was eventually listed as Killed In Action after the War. A bridge in Milton, Massachusetts was named in honor of him.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Massachusetts.

Lawrence is listed on the Boston College Veterans Memorial; he was a member of the class of 1923 there.

Career

He had earlier been a member of the Harvard faculty.

Silver Star

Unable to find a citation for the Silver Star he was posthumously awarded.

Memorial Hall Error

Multiple listings—including his headstone—have him as a CDR; Memorial Hall has LCDR. (The Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1945 has LCDR; unable to find the 1946 edition of this document.)

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.

July 1924

Ensign, USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS Elbert Palmer, Jr. '24 and ENS Richard Baron '24.

September 1924

Ensign, USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS Elbert Palmer, Jr. '24 and ENS Richard Baron '24.

November 1924

Ensign, USS Utah

January 1925

Ensign, USS Utah

March 1925

Ensign, USS Utah

May 1925

Ensign, under instruction, Edgewood Arsenal

July 1925

Ensign, USS Childs

October 1925

Ensign, USS Childs

January 1926

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

October 1926

Ensign, USS Converse

Others at this command: LTjg Henry Schmidt '22.

January 1927

Ensign, USS Converse

Others at this command: LTjg Henry Schmidt '22.

April 1927

Ensign, USS Converse

Others at this command: LTjg Henry Schmidt '22.

October 1927

Ensign, USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS John Reybold '26.

January 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS John Reybold '26.

April 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Utah

July 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS Charles Hill, Jr. '27.

October 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Utah

Others at this command: ENS Charles Hill, Jr. '27 and ENS James Averill '27.

April 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Cleveland

July 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Cleveland

October 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Cleveland

January 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Pensacola

April 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Pensacola

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20 and ENS Edwin Martin '29.

October 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Pensacola

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20.

January 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Pensacola

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20.

April 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Pensacola

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20.

July 1934

Lieutenant, USS Whitney

Others at this command: LT Paul Slawson '20.

October 1934

Lieutenant, USS Whitney

Others at this command: LT Paul Slawson '20.

January 1935

Lieutenant, USS Whitney

Others at this command: LT Paul Slawson '20.

April 1935

Lieutenant, communications officer, USS Whitney

Others at this command: LT Paul Slawson '20.

October 1935

Lieutenant, communications officer, USS Whitney

January 1936

Lieutenant, USS Tillman

Others at this command: ENS Arthur Newman '34.

April 1936

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Leary

July 1936

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Leary

January 1937

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Leary

April 1937

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Leary

September 1937

Lieutenant, ROTC instructor, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Others at this command: CDR Sherwood Picking '11.

January 1938

Lieutenant, ROTC instructor, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Others at this command: CDR Sherwood Picking '11.

July 1938

Lieutenant, ROTC instructor, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Others at this command: CDR Sherwood Picking '11 and LT Hugh Black '26.

January 1939

Lieutenant, ROTC instructor, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Others at this command: CDR Sherwood Picking '11 and LT Hugh Black '26.

October 1939

Lieutenant Commander, USS Pecos

June 1940

Lieutenant Commander, USS Pecos

Others at this command: LT Raymond Mayo '30.

November 1940

Lieutenant Commander, USS Pecos

Others at this command: LT Raymond Mayo '30 and LTjg Lewis Davis '37.

April 1941

Lieutenant Commander, USS Pecos

Others at this command: LT Raymond Mayo '30 and LTjg Lewis Davis '37.


Class of 1924

Lawrence is one of 42 members of the Class of 1924 on Virtual Memorial Hall.