HENRY B. TWOHY, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Henry Twohy '29

Date of birth: April 16, 1907

Date of death: November 3, 1937

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1929 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From History Link:

On November 3, 1937, a Navy bomber and a Navy pursuit plane collide over Boeing Field during gunnery maneuvers. The two men in the pursuit plane parachute to safety, but all five men aboard the bomber perish as the planes crash into a cow pasture south of the runway. The five crash victims are Lieutenant Henry Twohy, Aviation Cadet Kenneth Rhuddy, Aviation Cadet Kenneth Schmidt, Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class Matthew McCroddan, and Radioman First Class Russell Reagan. At the time, this is the largest aviation disaster to occur locally.

A Day Like Any Other…

It was a partly cloudy day, perfect for gunnery maneuvers. The planes were equipped with camera guns, which mimicked machine guns, but instead took a rapid succession of still photographs for later review. The two-winged bomber, a PM-2 type, “patrolled” the skies at 90 m.p.h., and two open-cockpit pursuit planes (Berliner-Joyce OJ-2's) took turns diving out of the clouds in simulated combat 3,500 feet off the ground.

Maneuvers of this type were common, but on this day something went horribly wrong. After about 15 “attack” dives at speeds of over 150 m.p.h., one of the pursuit planes came out of the clouds a bit too close to the bomber, with little time for evasion on the part of both pilots. The right wing of the smaller plane connected with the right wing of the bomber, crippling both planes.

…Ends in Tragedy

Aviation Chief Machinist’s Mate J. D. Goodsell and Seaman W. S. Bowman jumped from the damaged pursuit plane, although some witnesses on the ground seemed to think that they were thrown out on impact. The two men parachuted down, almost in shock, as their plane drilled itself into the ground below.

The bomber limped along for a few seconds, but then its wing collapsed, sending the craft into a violent tailspin. Its engines racing, the plane plummeted towards the ground. At some point Twohy, the pilot, was able to cut the motors, preventing a fire upon impact. None of the crew was able to escape the plane before it pancaked into the field, strewing gasoline-soaked wreckage over most of an acre. It took hours to extricate the bodies from the wreckage. The men had been clutching their parachutes upon impact, unable to use them as they tumbled through the sky. The chutes, meant to save their lives, were instead used as shrouds to transport the dead men away from the crash site.

Shattered Lives

… Gertrude Twohy was at home making preparations for her and her husband’s “semi-anniversary.” They had been married exactly six months ago, to the day. As she busied herself in their apartment, waiting for her handsome aviator husband to arrive home from Sand Point Naval Base, she turned on the radio, only to hear that her husband had perished in the crash along with four other men.…

An Unfortunate Accident

Although there were multiple witnesses to the accident, both on the ground and in the air, no clear consensus was arrived at for the cause of the crash. Many witnesses claimed to see a wing fall off one of the planes prior to impact, but the wreckage did not confirm this. The pilot of the wrecked pursuit plane felt that his plane had collapsed before impact, but the pilot of the other pursuit plane witnessed no structural damage to either plane before the crash.

The Navy produced records showing that both aircraft were fit for duty, and their investigative panel also concluded that neither pilot was negligent. It was hoped that the camera on board the plane would provide clues, but most of the film was ruined upon impact. In the end, the Navy determined that the crash was an unavoidable accident, and nothing more.

Henry is buried in Washington. In addition to his wife, he was survived by his father and two brothers.

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.

July 1929

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LTjg Ted Marshall '24, LTjg John Crane '26, and ENS Henry Dozier '27.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LT Thomas Fisher '18 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LT Paul Thompson '19 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B), and LTjg Creighton Lankford '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B).

October 1929

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24, LTjg Ted Marshall '24, and LTjg John Crane '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LT Thomas Fisher '18 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Walter Leach, Jr. '24 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), and LTjg Creighton Lankford '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B).

January 1930

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LT Thomas Fisher '18 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Walter Leach, Jr. '24 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Creighton Lankford '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B), LTjg Hubert Waters '25 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B), LTjg Claude Haman '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), ENS Eugene Lindsey '27 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), ENS John Eldridge, Jr. '27 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), ENS Julian Greer '27 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), ENS Loren Morris '27 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet), and ENS Robert Winters '27 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet).

April 1930

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24 and ENS Jacob Britt '29.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Thomas Fisher '18 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Walter Leach, Jr. '24 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Creighton Lankford '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B), LTjg Carlton Hutchins '26 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B), LTjg Claude Haman '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), ENS John Eldridge, Jr. '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), and ENS Julian Greer '27 (Light Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B).

October 1931

Ensign, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B), LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), LTjg Harold Richards '27 (USS Lexington), LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Baylies Clark '30 (USS Lexington), ENS John Craig '30 (USS Lexington), ENS Cleon Felton '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Edward Allen '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (USS Lexington), and ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington).

January 1932

Ensign, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B), LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Baylies Clark '30 (USS Lexington), ENS John Craig '30 (USS Lexington), ENS Cleon Felton '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Edward Allen '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (USS Lexington), and ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington).

April 1932

Ensign, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B), LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Baylies Clark '30 (USS Lexington), ENS John Craig '30 (USS Lexington), ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (USS Lexington), and ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington).

October 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S, USS Lexington

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

January 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S, USS Lexington

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S), ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

April 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LTjg Arthur Farrell '25.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: CDR Henry Cecil '10 (USS Lexington), LT Edwin Crouch '21 (USS Lexington), LT Henry Brandenburger '21 (USS Lexington), LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S), LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (USS Lexington), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Walter Bailey '31 (USS Lexington), ENS Albert Major, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

July 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 and LTjg Arthur Farrell '25.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS Lexington), ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

October 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 and LTjg Arthur Farrell '25.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS Lexington), LTjg John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Charles Ostrom '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

April 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LTjg James McDonough '24 and LTjg Arthur Farrell '25.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS Lexington), LTjg John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B), ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), LTjg Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B), ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington), and ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington).

July 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Minneapolis

Others at this command: ENS Harold Von Weller '33.

October 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Minneapolis

Others at this command: ENS Harold Von Weller '33.

January 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Minneapolis

Others at this command: ENS Harold Von Weller '33.

April 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Minneapolis

Others at this command: ENS Harold Von Weller '33.

October 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

January 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

April 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

July 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

January 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

April 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 2F, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29.

September 1937

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 16


Class of 1929

Henry is one of 29 members of the Class of 1929 on Virtual Memorial Hall.