From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Sherwood Picking '11

Date of birth: February 21, 1890

Date of death: September 1, 1941

Age: 51

Lucky Bag

From the 1911 Lucky Bag:


Sherwood was lost on September 1, 1941 when the British bomber he was aboard crashed enroute to London. He was to assume duties as a naval attaché.

He was survived by his wife and son. Sherwood is buried in Maine.

He is not listed as an overseas casualty of WWII.


"Sherwood Picking, the 1st CO of the O-10 (SS-71), appears here in a photograph from Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Fore River Plant (G.W. Lord, photographer) on 21 February 1918 and possibly with the boat's sponsor, Mrs. John E. Bailey."

From USS Picking (DD 685) organization:

The Picking was named in memory of Captain Sherwood Picking, USN, who died in a plane crash in Scotland en route to London on 1 September 1941.

Captain Picking was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 21 February 1890. He graduated from the U.S Naval Academy in the class of 1911. As LT he was the first captain of the USS O-10 (SS-71) when she was commissioned on 17 August 1918. As LCDR, he was commanding officer of the submarine S-7 when she was commissioned on 1 July 1920. The USS Barracuda (SS-163) was commissioned on 1 October 1924 and LCDR Picking was her first CO. He was promoted to Captain on 1 July 1939. During WWI, he was cited for distinguished and heroic action as Commanding Officer of a submarine which operated in waters infested with enemy vessels and mines.

In June 1936, Captain Picking was stationed at Harvard University in connection with the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps Unit. Later he was placed in command of Submarine Squadron Three, with additional duty commanding the Submarine Base at Coco Solo9, Canal Zone. He returned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in April 1941, after which he was assigned to temporary duty in London, England.

He also served on French submarines during WWI, according to this contemporary report of his loss. At some point he was stationed in the Philippines and China.

A diary he kept while observing English and French submarine operations in WWI is in the holdings of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Sherwood Picking, United States Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as commander of the U.S.S. 0-10, making passage to the Azores and operating in European waters against enemy submarines during World War I.

Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. O-10


USS Picking (DD 685) was named for Sherwood; the ship was sponsored by his widow.


The Maine Historical Society has his handwritten recipe for the creation of gin—circa 1925, during prohibition. It also has a diary titled "Cruise of the schooner Salee, 30 August 1939 to 20 March 1940, Solomon Islands, Maryland--Rio de Janiero-- Miami, Florida : the diary of Captain Sherwood Picking, USN."

In March-April 1941 Sherwood was a part of an expedition investigating the possibility of establishing a biological station in the Galapagos Islands.

Picking family papers are in the collection of the Library of Congress:

Consists of the collected documents of Laura Sherwood Picking (1856-1933) and Henry Forry Picking (1840-1899), as well as the papers of their son Sherwood Picking (1890-1941) and his wife Elizabeth Warner Picking (1899-1999). Compiled and donated by Sherwood's son, Henry [Ricky] Forry Picking (1931-2013), the family papers chronicle the adult lives of Laura and Henry, center around Sherwood Picking's life until his tragic accident in 1941, and continue in part into the life of Ricky Picking himself. Contains correspondence, family documents, photographs, building receipts, books, blueprints, pamphlets, travel documents, passports, naval documents and paperwork, sketches, newspaper clippings, a stamp collection, Henry F. Picking's trunk, decorative frames, a pair of spectacles, scrapbooks, Bibles, pamphlets, World War I ration stamps, carved wood blocks, and legal documents. Also includes correspondence from World War II submarine commander, Admiral Charles A. Lockwood. The Picking family includes multiple generations of naval history, the vast majority collected and passed on by the women in the family. It includes the photographs of and the correspondence of Laura Sherwood Picking and Elizabeth Warner Picking (the donor's mother). These two women form the basis of the collection because they were the ones who kept the correspondence, images, and newspaper clippings from the war years during which their husbands and sons fought. The correspondence, books, and photographs give a glimpse into the life of this historic family and the tumultuous years in which they lived. The collection is split into the correspondence and documents of Laura Sherwood Picking's family and the correspondence and documents of Elizabeth Warner Picking's family. Both women collected the majority of the correspondence and by dividing thematically and chronologically by each woman, the collection maintains a sense of its original organization. For genealogy of the Warner family, see the source file. There is also a model of the schooner Gladiator made by Sherwood Picking (ca. 1925), located in the library reading room.

Sherwood authored the book "Sea Fight Off Monhegan: Enterprise and Boxer"; it was published in 1941, after his death.

Memorial Hall Error

Sherwood's loss is clearly operational. His situation almost exactly mirrors that of George Grove '15, who was lost only a few months before on a British bomber in Iraq while on his way to assume duties as a naval attaché.

Class of 1911

Sherwood is one of 15 members of the Class of 1911 on Virtual Memorial Hall.