From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Walter French '71

Date of birth: 1852

Date of death: November 24, 1877

Age: ~25

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.

Naval Academy Register

Walter Seba French was admitted to the Naval Academy from Bangor, Maine on July 27, 1866 at age 14 years 7 months.


Walter was lost on November 24, 1877 when USS Huron (1875) went aground and then wrecked in heavy weather off Nags Head, North Carolina. Ninety-seven other officers and men were also lost.


From Army & Navy Journal on December 15, 1877:

Among the lost on the ill-fated Huron, whose bodies have never been recovered, is Master Walter S. French, of Bangor, Maine, aged 25 years, appointed by the Hon. J.H. Rice, June 27, 1866, and graduated 1871. This young and gallant officer was among the very last to leave the vessel. Not until utterly exhausted in his efforts to save others could he be induced to foresake his post of duty. Although of strong frame and a good swimmer, he had clung too long to the wreck, and, when exhausted the waves received him, he sank to rise no more. One of his superior officers speaks of the deceased as "a loving, generous, noble fellow, kind and gentlemanly, a thorough officer—such as no better could be found in service—beloved and respected by all." A classmate alludes to him "as self-sacrificing to the last, noted for his manly qualities, and a character which gave high promise of a brilliant career as officer." Add to all this, filial attachment to his parents, such as makes his loss far more deeply felt in the family circle than words can express; for no matter how endeared and respected among his comrades and superiors, the crown Walter S. French's estimable qualities culminated in the dutiful son and devoted brother.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 27 July, 1866. Graduated 6 June, 1871. Ensign, 14 July, 1872. Master, 22 August, 1876. Lost on board Huron, 24 November, 1877.

Related Articles

George Ryan '61, Sydney Simons '67, Lambert Palmer '68, James Wight '71, Frederick Danner '74, and Edmund Loomis '75 were also lost when Huron was wrecked.

Class of 1871

Walter is one of 3 members of the Class of 1871 on Virtual Memorial Hall.