WILLIAM E. T. NEUMANN, MIDN, USN
William Neumann '03
Date of birth: August 27, 1881
Date of death: April 13, 1904
From the 1903 Lucky Bag:
William was lost on April 13, 1904 when the port 12" gun in the aft turret aboard Missouri (Battleship No. 11) flared backwards, ignited three propellant charges, and started a fire. Thirty-five others were also lost.
Memorial Hall Error
William was a midshipman at the time of his loss; he is referred to as such in the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1904 and on his headstone. His classmate is listed as a midshipman; however, William is listed in Memorial Hall as an Ensign.
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.