From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Richard Hughes '37

Date of birth: November 26, 1913

Date of death: December 8, 1941

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


Richard was lost when the PBY-5 Catalina he was copiloting crashed while landing in Halifax harbor on December 8, 1941. From VP Navy:

Emergency downwind landing. Hit swell during landing, bounced and hit second swell nose down attitude and flipped partially over. The hull was torn, plane sank in 20mins. … All indications are the partial or complete loss elevator control occurred. Pilot:Ens.Paul H.Alter/Killed, Lt(jg) Richard B. Hughes/Killed, ENS Robert W. DeReamer/Killed, AMM1 Cleo Wells (NAP)/Killed, RM3 Harry W. Sheep/Killed, AMM3 Carl W. Pierce/Killed, AMM1 John R. McIntyre/Seriously inj, AMM3 Robert E. Dearen/Minor inj, AMM3 Robert M. Smith/Seriously inj, RM3 Oliver C. Lawhead/Seriously inj, and RM1 George A. Brown/Minor inj

His wife was listed as next of kin. He was also survived by his parents, William and Mary of Parkersburg, West Virginia; sister Eleanor, Mrs. Elton Ridgeway, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; brothers Donald and John; aunt Mrs. David Adams of Latrobe. Unable to locate a burial location or memory marker.


He was promoted to LTJG on June 3, 1940. On February 11, 1941 he was designated naval aviator #7136. (Information from Richard Leonard, naval aviation historian.)


He was copiloting a PBY-5 Catalina when it was involved in a mishap while taxiing in Rhode Island on November 7, 1941. No one aboard was injured, but the aircraft suffered significant damage.

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 1938

Ensign, USS Nevada

Others at this command:

January 1939

Ensign, USS Nevada

Others at this command:

October 1939

Ensign, USS Sterett

June 1940

Ensign, USS Sterett

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command:

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Squadron (VP) 51, Norfolk, Virginia

Class of 1937

Richard is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 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.