WILLIAM C. FRANCE, CAPT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William France '24

Date of birth: October 28, 1902

Date of death: April 2, 1945

Age: 42

Lucky Bag

From the 1924 Lucky Bag:


Loss

William was lost on April 2, 1945 when USS Henrico (APA 45) was struck by a kamikaze during the invasion of Okinawa.

He had only taken command of Henrico two weeks earlier, on March 18.

His wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his daughter, Martha. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Bronze Star

William was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star.

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 1924

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: LTjg John Burrow '21, ENS George Lehman '23, and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

September 1924

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS George Lehman '23 and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

November 1924

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS George Lehman '23 and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

January 1925

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS George Lehman '23 and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

March 1925

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS George Lehman '23 and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

May 1925

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS George Lehman '23 and ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

July 1925

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS Adolph Hede '25, ENS Harold Pound '25, and ENS William Graham, Jr. '25.

October 1925

Ensign, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: ENS Adolph Hede '25, ENS Harold Pound '25, and ENS William Graham, Jr. '25.

January 1926

Ensign, USS Farquhar

Others at this command: LCDR Fred Berry '08.

October 1926

Ensign, USS Farquhar

Others at this command: LCDR Fred Berry '08.

January 1927

Ensign, USS Farquhar

Others at this command: LCDR Fred Berry '08.

April 1927

Ensign, USS Farquhar

October 1927

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

Others at this command: LTjg Joseph Johnson '24.

January 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

Others at this command: LTjg Joseph Johnson '24.

April 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

July 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

October 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

January 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

April 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

July 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

October 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

January 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Charles Ausburn

April 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Fairfax

October 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR James Logan '10, LCDR Robert English '11, LCDR Warner Portz '15, LCDR Cassin Young '16, LT Joseph Severyns, Jr. '20, LT John Jones '21, LT Edward Metcalfe '22, LT John French '22, LTjg John Welch '23, LTjg Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, LTjg Hammond Dugan '24, LTjg Fremont Wright '25, LTjg Richard Gingras '25, and ENS Claud Hughes '30.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Charles Kail '23 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy), 1LT David Claude '24 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy), and 2LT Paul Moret '30 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy).

January 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR James Logan '10, LCDR Robert English '11, LCDR Cassin Young '16, LT Joseph Severyns, Jr. '20, LT John Jones '21, LT Edward Metcalfe '22, LT John French '22, LTjg John Welch '23, LTjg Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, LTjg Hammond Dugan '24, LTjg Fremont Wright '25, and LTjg Richard Gingras '25.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Charles Kail '23 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy) and 1LT David Claude '24 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy).

April 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR James Logan '10, LCDR Robert English '11, LCDR Cassin Young '16, LT Joseph Severyns, Jr. '20, LT John Jones '21, LT Edward Metcalfe '22, LT John French '22, LT John Welch '23, LTjg Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, LTjg William Hobby, Jr. '23, LTjg Hammond Dugan '24, LTjg Fremont Wright '25, and LTjg Richard Gingras '25.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Charles Kail '23 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy) and 1LT David Claude '24 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy).

October 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

October 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LT Norman Ives '20 (Diving School), LTjg Robley Clark '24 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), LTjg Fremont Wright '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), and LTjg Julian Morrison, Jr. '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.).

January 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LT Norman Ives '20 (Diving School), LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Diving School), LTjg Robley Clark '24 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), 1LT Edward Trumble '25 (Marine Barracks), LTjg Fremont Wright '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), and LTjg Julian Morrison, Jr. '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.).

April 1933

Lieutenant, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LT Norman Ives '20 (Diving School), LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit), 1LT Edward Trumble '25 (Marine Barracks), LTjg Fremont Wright '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), and LTjg Julian Morrison, Jr. '25 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.).

July 1933

Lieutenant, USS Texas

Others at this command: ENS Ralph Elden '31, ENS William Sisko '31, ENS Edgar Chase '32, ENS Fred Connaway '32, ENS William Widhelm '32, and ENS Francis Brown '33.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

October 1933

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

April 1934

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

July 1934

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

October 1934

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

January 1935

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

April 1935

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

October 1935

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

January 1936

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

April 1936

Lieutenant, USS Vestal

July 1936

Lieutenant, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), LT John Hollowell, Jr. '22 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), LT Henry Batterton '23 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), LT Julian Jordan '25 (Receiving Station), and LTjg Warren Graf '27 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.).

January 1937

Lieutenant, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LT John Hollowell, Jr. '22 (Experimental Diving Unit), LT Henry Batterton '23 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.), LT Julian Jordan '25 (Receiving Station), and LT Warren Graf '27 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.).

April 1937

Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LT Henry Batterton '23 and LT Warren Graf '27.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20 (Naval Gun Factory), LT John Hollowell, Jr. '22 (Experimental Diving Unit), and LT Julian Jordan '25 (Receiving Station).

September 1937

Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LT William Millican '28.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: LT John Hollowell, Jr. '22 (Experimental Diving Unit) and LT Julian Jordan '25 (Receiving Station).

January 1938

Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LT William Millican '28.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: CAPT Stuart King '20 (Marine Barracks) and LT Julian Jordan '25 (Receiving Station).

July 1938

Lieutenant, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Eli Roth '37, ENS Donald Smith '38, ENS Wade Shaffer, Jr. '38, and ENS William Tate, Jr. '38.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Observation Squadron (VO) 4).

January 1939

Lieutenant, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Eli Roth '37, ENS Donald Smith '38, ENS Wade Shaffer, Jr. '38, and ENS William Tate, Jr. '38.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Observation Squadron (VO) 4).

October 1939

Lieutenant Commander, gunnery officer, USS Raleigh

Others at this command: LTjg Royal Ingersoll, II '34.

June 1940

Lieutenant Commander, gunnery officer, USS Raleigh

Others at this command: LTjg Royal Ingersoll, II '34.

November 1940

Lieutenant Commander, gunnery officer, USS Raleigh

Others at this command: LTjg Royal Ingersoll, II '34.

April 1941

Lieutenant Commander, gunnery officer, USS Raleigh

Others at this command: LTjg Royal Ingersoll, II '34.


Class of 1924

William is one of 42 members of the Class of 1924 on Virtual Memorial Hall.