From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Donald Godwin '11

Date of birth: September 13, 1888

Date of death: January 21, 1943

Age: 54

Lucky Bag

From the 1911 Lucky Bag:


Donald was lost on January 21, 1943, when the aircraft he was aboard crashed near Ukiah, California while enroute from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco. The flying boat, a Pan Am Clipper, was being operated by Pan Am employees but was a contracted Navy flight, and all ten passengers were Navy officers.

From The US Naval Institute:

On 21 January 1943, a Pan Am clipper operating for the Naval Air Transport Service was on a flight from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco. On board the transport aircraft was Rear Admiral Robert H. English, Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet, headed for a conference at Mare Island, together with three of his senior staff officers. Once matters had been completed at San Francisco, English and the others were scheduled for inspection trips to U.S. submarine facilities at Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and then San Diego.

It seems that Donald was stationed with the 12th Naval District, Los Angeles, California.

Donald was survived by his wife and daughter; he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Wartime Service

Donald was commanding officer of USS Maryland (BB 46) during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The ship was flagship for the embarked Commander, Battleships Pacific Fleet and was damaged in the attack. Unable to find when he started or ended that tour.

Memorial Hall Error

Donald, along with his classmate Robert English '11, are the only two Naval Academy alumni who perished in this crash who are not included in Memorial Hall. Their loss is clearly an operational one, and six other alumni who were aboard are listed with their classmates.

Related Articles

Robert English '11, Robert Smith '20, John Crane '26, Francis Black '26, William Myers '26, John Coll '27, and George Stone '31 were also lost in the crash of Pan Am Flight 1104. Eight of the ten passengers were Naval Academy graduates.

Class of 1911

Donald is one of 15 members of the Class of 1911 on Virtual Memorial Hall.