WILLIAM A. THORN, CAPT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Thorn '32

Date of birth: August 6, 1907

Date of death: December 4, 1958

Age: 51

Lucky Bag

From the 1932 Lucky Bag:


Obituary

From Find A Grave:

Ensign W. A. Thorn, USN, was designated Naval Aviator #4146 in 1935. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1931. Captain Thorn commanded the aircraft carrier U.S.S. ANTIETAM (CVS-36) 1956-1957. Killed, along with with Navy Capt. Edward Herman Seiler, Jr. (NA #11545/1942), when the twin-engined JRB Beechcraft they were flying crashed into the Potomac River shortly after taking off from NAS Anacostia, Wash., D.C.

Captain Thorn was survived by his widow, Mrs. Norma Etheridge Thorn, two daughters and a son.

From the January 1959 issue of Shipmate:

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Capt W. A. THORN on 4 December 1958 as a result of an airplane accident in Washington, D. C. At the time of his death he was with the Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Executive Office of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations. Captain Thorne is survived by his widow, Norma E.; two daughters, Margaret, 9, and Susan, 7; a son by a previous marriage, William A., Jr., and his mother, Margaret Thorn, Edgewater, Md.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Wartime Service

William was commanding officer of Patrol Squadron (VP) 74, based in Bermuda, in early January 1942.

In 1954 he was commanding officer of the Coco Solo Naval Base, Panama.

Related Articles

Edward Seiler, Jr. '39 was also lost in this crash.

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.

October 1932

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LT Edwin Crouch '21, LT Henry Brandenburger '21, LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27, ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31, ENS Walter Bailey '31, ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32, ENS Daniel Gothie '32, and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), and ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S).

January 1933

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LT Edwin Crouch '21, LT Henry Brandenburger '21, LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27, ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31, ENS Walter Bailey '31, ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32, ENS Daniel Gothie '32, and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), and ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S).

April 1933

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: CDR Henry Cecil '10, LT Edwin Crouch '21, LT Henry Brandenburger '21, LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27, ENS Walter Bailey '31, ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32, ENS Daniel Gothie '32, and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), and ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B).

July 1933

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15, ENS Daniel Gothie '32, and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), and ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B).

October 1933

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15, ENS Daniel Gothie '32, and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), and ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B).

April 1934

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 and ENS Daniel Gothie '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), and LTjg Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B).

January 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Crommelin '31 and LTjg Harrington Drake '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Langley: LTjg Clarence Kasparek '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 4B).

April 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Crommelin '31 and LTjg Harrington Drake '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Langley: LTjg Clarence Kasparek '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 4B).

July 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LTjg Robert Symes '27 and LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28.

Others at or embarked at USS Langley: LT Stephen Cooke '21 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 4B), LT Walter Dey '24 (USS Langley), and LTjg Clarence Kasparek '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 4B).

January 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28.

April 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28.

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Elliot

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Squadron (VP) 52, Norfolk, Virginia

Others at this command: LCDR Charles McDonald '24 and LTjg Harold Von Weller '33.

June 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Squadron (VP) 55, Norfolk, Virginia

November 1940

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 55, Norfolk, Virginia

April 1941

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 55, Norfolk, Virginia


Class of 1932

William is one of 52 members of the Class of 1932 on Virtual Memorial Hall.