WILLIAM S. FARREL, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Farrel '41

Date of birth: July 9, 1917

Date of death: April 9, 1945

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1941 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Bill was lost when USS Snook (SS 279) was sunk, sometime after April 9, 1945 while on her 9th war patrol.

Career

From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Mugford (DD-389) Dec 1941 - 7 Aug 1942
  • Duty USS Mackerel (SS-204)
  • Executive Officer USS S-14 (SS-119) Apr 1944
  • Acting Captain USS S-14 (SS-119) 30 Apr 1944
  • Duty USS Threadfin (SS-410)
  • Executive Officer USS Snook (SS-279) 1945
  • Ensign 7 Feb 1941
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) (T) 15 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant (T) 1 Dec 1942

Obituary

From Find A Grave:

William Farrel listed his home of record as California. He and his wife, Mrs. Margaret Ellen Farrel and son, William H Farrel II lived at 381 D. Street, Chula Vista, CA. He graduated from Sweetwater Union High School in May of 1934. He was born in California in 1917 and was the son of William H. Farrel, a career Navy Officer.

William Farrel was a Lieutenant Commander (LCDR/O4) in the United States Navy in World War Two. His service number was 0-100401. He was a graduate of the Naval Academy and a submarine officer. He was serving as the Executive Officer (XO) aboard the USS Snook (SS-279) when it was sunk on April 8, 1945. Eighty-Four men were lost at sea when the USS Snook was lost.

At the time of the Pearl Harbor Attack, William Farrel was aboard the USS Mugford and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry near Guadacanal while assigned to that submarine. He had also served aboard the USS Mackeral, S-14 and the USS Threadfin, with operations in both the Pacific and the Atlantic.

His name appears on a tablet of the missing at the Manila American Cemetery at Manila, Republic of the Philippines. He was listed as Missing in Action (MIA) or Buried at Sea on June 5, 1946. A street in the Sunbow community of Chula Vista honors his name.

He was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant William S. Farrel, United States Navy, for gallantry in action while serving as Damage Control Officer in a warship during an engagement with Japanese forces off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 7 August 1942. Lieutenant Farrel entered a burning compartment to remove explosives and assist in extinguishing the fire. His prompt action helped keep the ship in action and undoubtedly prevented further dangerous explosions. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 320 (November 1943)
Action Date: August 7, 1942
Service: Navy

Memorial Hall Error

William is listed in Memorial Hall as a LT, but his gravestone and all other references list him as a LCDR. Likely a posthumous promotion. His classmates in the submarine service were promoted to LCDR on July 20, 1945.

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.

April 1941

Ensign, USS Mugford


Class of 1941

William is one of 60 members of the Class of 1941 on Virtual Memorial Hall.