From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Drumtra '34

Date of birth: February 4, 1911

Date of death: July 25, 1938

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1934 Lucky Bag:


Bill was lost when his torpedo bomber crashed on July 25, 1938, near Norfolk, Virginia. He was a member of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 5, operating from USS Yorktown (CV 5). Two other members of the squadron, James McDonough '24 (the pilot) and Aviation Cadet John R. Patch, were also killed.

Bill was survived by his parents and a brother. (Information via Press and Sun Bulletin on Monday, July 25, 1938; scan emailed on February 10, 2018 by a researcher.)

He is buried in Massachusetts.


Bill began his career in USS Idaho (BB 42); he is listed as a member of that ship in the 1935 Navy Directory. In the 1936 Navy Directory he is aboard USS Hovey (DD 208). In 1937 he is listed as "under instruction" at NAS Pensacola, Florida. On January 11, 1938 he earned his wings as naval aviator #5582 — though there is a note number next to this that is difficult to make out. It's possible he was "not a Naval Aviator, but an Aviation Ground Officer" or "Naval Observers should not be given Naval Aviation designation numbers; these were evidently issued in error."

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James McDonough '24 was piloting the aircraft.

Class of 1934

William is one of 41 members of the Class of 1934 on Virtual Memorial Hall.