LAWRENCE W. CURTIN, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lawrence Curtin '20

Date of birth: September 30, 1898

Date of death: August 14, 1936

Age: 37

Lucky Bag

From the 1920 Lucky Bag:

Biography & Loss

1920 Curtin 1.jpg

He is buried in Illinois. From researcher Kathy Franz:

Lawrence died when his single-seater fighter land plane crashed into the Panama Canal one mile northeast of the Pedro Miguel Lock. He was on a maneuver as an Inspection and Survey officer flying over and close to the USS Garfield. He was stationed at Coco Solo Air Base, and classmate Lieutenant William Peters Hepburn escorted his body home.

Lawrence had been in three other plane crashes; twice, he was severely injured. Once was in April 1926 when his plane crashed in the Pacific and he and two others waited 12 hours for rescue in high seas. A few months later, on September 21, 1926 he was on the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris. The pilot was the French war ace Lieutenant Rene Fonck. The three-motored Sikorski biplane crashed on take-off, killing two other crewmen aboard. (Lawrence's leave of absence was cancelled on September 10 by the acting Secretary of the Navy, who was opposed to "transoceanic flights in land planes.")

Lawrence’s father John was a railroad brakeman, and in March 1906, he was made the Illinois Central Railroad’s night yard master at Amboy, Illinois. Lawrence’s mother was Mollie, and he is buried next to her. Lawrence was the oldest child; his brothers were Theodore and John, and his sister was Helen, Mrs. Roswell Robertson. At age 11, Lawrence was working as a janitor in a sanitarium helping his mother who took in washing at their home.

Lawrence married Lady Catherine Nordcliffe of England. In 1930 they lived in Norfolk, Virginia, with their butler and cook. When Lawrence died, their home was in Greenwich, Connecticut.

He was designated naval aviator #3071 on December 26, 1922.

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 Huron

January 1922

Ensign, USS Huron

January 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bureau of Navigation

July 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, USS Aroostook


Others at this command:

September 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, USS Aroostook


Others at this command:

May 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, USS Aroostook


Others at this command:

July 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, USS Aroostook


Others at this command:

September 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, USS Aroostook


Others at this command:

November 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

January 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

March 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

May 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

July 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

October 1925

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

January 1926

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor


Others at this command:

October 1926

Lieutenant, Bureau of Aeronautics, Washington, D.C.


Others at this command:

January 1927

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 2, USS Langley


Others at or embarked at USS Langley:

LCDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 2)
LT Frederick Buse '20 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6)
LTjg Harry Brandenburger '21 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 2)
LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet)
LTjg George Covell '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1)
LTjg Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1)

April 1927

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 2, USS Langley


Others at or embarked at USS Langley:

LTjg Harry Brandenburger '21 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 2)
LTjg James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1)
LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet)
LTjg George Covell '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1)

October 1927

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 5S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

LT Rogers Ransehousen '21 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 5S)

January 1928

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 5S, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at USS Lexington:

CDR Theodore Ellyson '05 (USS Lexington)
LCDR Hugo Schmidt '16 (USS Lexington)
LT Rogers Ransehousen '21 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 5S)
ENS William Graham, Jr. '25 (USS Lexington)
ENS Wilfred Bushnell '26 (USS Lexington)
ENS Eugene Karpe '26 (USS Lexington)
ENS Harold Sheehan '27 (USS Lexington)
ENS William Potts '27 (USS Lexington)

April 1928

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 5S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

July 1928

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 5S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

October 1928

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 5S, USS Florida

January 1929

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 2S, USS Florida

April 1929

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 2S, USS Florida

July 1929

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 2S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

October 1929

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 2S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

January 1930

Lieutenant, Observation Squadron (VO) 2S, USS Florida


Others at or embarked at USS Florida:

April 1930

Lieutenant, USS Florida


Others at this command:

October 1930

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

January 1931

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

April 1931

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

July 1931

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

October 1931

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

January 1932

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

April 1932

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia

October 1932

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

January 1933

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia

April 1933

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia


Others at this command:

July 1933

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
2LT Ernest Pollock '28 (Scouting Squadron 14-M)
LTjg William Arthur '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg William Oliver '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Lloyd Greenamyer '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
ENS Cleon Felton '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS George Stone '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)

October 1933

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

LCDR William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
2LT Ernest Pollock '28 (Scouting Squadron 14-M)
LTjg William Arthur '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Lloyd Greenamyer '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
ENS Cleon Felton '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS George Stone '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)

April 1934

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

LCDR William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
2LT Ernest Pollock '28 (Scouting Squadron 14-M)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Lloyd Greenamyer '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS George Stone '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)

July 1934

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Carl Lindgren '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Robert Patten '30 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)

October 1934

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Carl Lindgren '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Robert Patten '30 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)

January 1935

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Carl Lindgren '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)

April 1935

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)

October 1935

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Gillon '20 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Oliver White '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Thomas Ashworth, Jr. '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)

January 1936

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LCDR John Gillon '20 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LT Richard Moss '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Oliver White '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Thomas Ashworth, Jr. '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Edwin Hurst '32 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)

April 1936

Lieutenant, USS Saratoga


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LCDR John Gillon '20 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LT Richard Moss '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Thomas Ashworth, Jr. '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Edwin Hurst '32 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)

July 1936

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Memorial Hall Error

Lawrence is not listed with his classmates in Memorial Hall. This omission was discovered by researcher Kathy Franz.


Class of 1920

Lawrence is one of 28 members of the Class of 1920 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.