From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Knapp '43

Date of birth: February 27, 1921

Date of death: June 18, 1947

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


William was lost on June 18, 1947, when the "trainer plane" he was piloting collided with another near Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida. The other pilot was also killed.

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Bill was born on 27 February 1921 in Washington, D.C. He was appointed from California and entered the Academy on 10 June 1938. After graduation he reported to the carrier USS LEXINGTON which was commissioned in the Atlantic but saw combat action in the Pacific and received the Presidential Unit Citation during this period. Bill was detached in June 1944 and underwent pre-flight training in Dallas, Texas. He then at tended Ordnance and Gunnery School in Washington, D.C. and put the cruiser USS LOS ANGELES in commission. Bill left the LOS ANGELES to complete his flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas in November 1945.

While conducting simulated combat fight operations from NAS Pensacola on June 18, 1947 Bill was killed in a mid-air collision three miles north of Canal Field, Florida. He wore the following medals: American Defense Service with Fleet Clasp, American Area Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign with four bronze stars and the WWII Victory Medal. He was survived by his wife Patsy Webb and two sons.

On May 14, 1949 Patsy became the wife of Henry J. Hosmer Cook, Bill’s classmate.

He is buried in Texas. He was survived by his wife and two sons (William R., and Robert M.); William R. was a midshipman as of 1966. William's wife was remarried to a classmate of his, Henry J. H. Cooke. (Emailed William R '69 on February 18, 2019.)

(Note: William is not the man with the same name who was the first qualified Navy helicopter pilot.)

Class of 1943

William is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 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.