From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Neumann '03

Date of birth: August 27, 1881

Date of death: April 13, 1904

Age: 22

Lucky Bag

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.

He is buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery next to his classmate, Thomas Ward, Jr. '03, who was also lost in this incident.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

William was survived by his mother who lived in Honolulu. He was engaged to Thomas Ward's sister Catherine. The Pittsburgh Daily Post newspaper article attached says they were called "the Damon and Pythias of the Navy" because of their close friendship. It was Catherine that requested they be buried together. Her father General Ward arranged for William and Thomas to arrive on a train together. The funeral was largely attended. Relatives of William called him "Ned."


William's and Thomas' classmates erected a plaque to their honor in Memorial Hall.

Related Articles

In addition to Thomas Ward, Jr. '03, William Davidson '95 and Ernest Weichert '99 were also lost.

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.

January 1904

Midshipman, Missouri

Others at this command:

Class of 1903

William is one of 5 members of the Class of 1903 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.