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Frank Trotter '23

Date of birth: February 26, 1901

Date of death: June 8, 1942

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1923 Lucky Bag:


Frank was one of nine servicemen and three civilians killed on June 8, 1942 when two blimps (G-2 and L-1) collided at night off the New Jersey shore during an exercise to test an experimental photoflash bomb that would be used to illuminate submerged submarines.

He was was piloting G-1.

He earned his wings as naval aviator (lighter than air) #4779 on April 3, 1933; he is listed as an Ensign, USNR. He is listed as a LTjg in the 1941 Register of Naval Reserve Officers; he was an "A-VS" with a date of rank of December 9, 1936. His "Pay Service as of Jan. 1, 1941" was 9 years, 11 months, 14 days. (Obtained his date of birth from this document.)

Memorial Hall Error

Frank was most likely not in the regular Navy; all evidence suggests he was a reservist on active duty. Memorial Hall has "USN."

Related Articles

Clinton Rounds '27 was piloting the other airship.

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.

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), naval reserve, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), naval reserve, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

Class of 1923

Frank is one of 25 members of the Class of 1923 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.