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   WWI   Era 

Florence H  Explosion
Recipients Of The
Navy Cross

(This listing is as complete as we are able to provide from numerous resources, however it is possible that a few recipients may not be listed.  You can verify if someone received the Navy Cross from this list, but absence of a name should NOT be construed to definitively negate a veteran's claim to this award.)

Statistics:

 
At approximately 11:15 p.m. on the night of 17 April 1918, while resting in Quiberon Bay on the Brittany Peninsula of France,  the SS Florence H, an American steamer loaded with powder and steel, erupted in a massive explosion. Within seconds she was torn by a second, greater explosion that shook the other ships and rained flaming debris over the bay.  Though some believed perhaps the ship had been torpedoed, this was never confirmed and the prevailing theory was that the steam ship was victim to an internal explosion.  For this reason most Navy Cross lists separate the 62 awards for heroism in the aftermath of that explosion and days of diving that followed, from World War I combat awards.

Click HERE for Full Text Citations for the Men Listed Below

Name

Rating

Branch

Ship

Date of Action

Aldrich, Robert Wesley

Carpenter's Mate Third Class

USNRF

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Aymar, Robert W.

Seaman

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Beglin, William J.

Seaman

USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Brandt, William J.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Truxton

Apr 17, 1918

Brown, Henry C.

Engineman Second Class

USNRF

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Brunssen, Louis F.

Seaman

USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Burns, Frank T.

Gunner's Mate First Class

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Cargill, George B.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Carter, James P.

Seaman

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Childress, Paul

Seaman Second Class

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Conroy, J. J.

Coxswain

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Coon, Marvin L.

Lieutenant

USNRF

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Cram, George E.

Lieutenant

USN

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Donley, Charles Frederick

Boatswain's Mate First Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Eccleston, Howard R.

Lieutenant (j.g.)

USNRF

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Ellison, Walter A.

Fireman First Class

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Flaut, Jesse A.

Lieutenant (MC)

USNRF

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Frank, Harold M.

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Steward

Apr 17, 1918

Garvey, Frank B.

Gunner's Mate First Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Gates, Edwin G.

Chief Boatswain's Mate

USN

Steward

Apr 17, 1918

Hale, Raymond W.

Seaman

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Harrington, Fred

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Harris, William O.

Ensign

USNRF

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Hazzard, Norman K.

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Heller, John C.

Gunner's Mate Second Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Hoover, Earl E.

Seaman

USN

Stewart

Apr 17, 1918

Johnston, Robert A.

Ensign

USNRF

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Johnstone, Roger

Yeoman Second Class

USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Jones, Charles E.

Water Tender

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Jones, Hayden H.

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Kelly, John J.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

King, Wallace A.

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Lamberton, Roy F.

Coxswain

USNRF

Truxton

Apr 17, 1918

Lebas, Harry E.

Chief Pharmacist's Mate

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Lee, Oscar

Seaman Second Class

USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Lindholm, William

Coxswain

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Maguire, William A.

Lieutenant (Chaplain)

USN

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Malone, Michael J.

Coxswain

USN

Stewart

Apr 17, 1918

Manley, George C.

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class

USNRF

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Mathias, Frank M.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

McCabe, Harold E.

Seaman

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

McCauley, George S. Boatswain's Mate Second Class USN

Wanderer

Apr 17, 1918

Morris, Paul E.

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Olsen, Norman

Quartermaster Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Pedeson, Olaf

Coxswain

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Reinlein, Frank G.

Machinist's Mate First Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Rockwell, Sherburne B.

Ensign

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Rogers, John W.

Seaman

USN

Florence H

Apr 17, 1918

Schaperow, James H.

Chief Boatswain's Mate

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Schwimmer, Charles Edwin

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Shabouth, Anthony

Seaman

USN

Whipple

Apr 17, 1918

Shatto, Lawrence

Coxswain

USN

Truxton

Apr 17, 1918

Snow, Herbert E.

Lieutenant

USNRF

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Sullivan, Thomas P.

Seaman

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Trainor, Harold W.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Truxton

Apr 17, 1918

Van Horn, Evans C.

Coxswain

USNRF

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Wacker, Vincent M.

Sxeaman Second Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Walker, Daniel

Boatswain's Mate Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Walker, Lloyd

Seaman

USN

Stewart

Apr 17, 1918

Wassberg, Hilding F.

Ship's Gunner's Mate Second Class

USN

Sultana

Apr 17, 1918

Wilson, Harold R.

Seaman Second Class

USN

Corona

Apr 17, 1918

Zeller, Louis

Pharmacist's Mate First Class

USN

Christabel

Apr 17, 1918

Click HERE for Full Text Citations for the Men Above

NOTE:
Some references also list the award of the Navy Cross to Seaman 2/c Jesse Whitfield Covington for his heroism in this action.  This is, however, the same act for which he was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor, so though we make his citation available we do not number him among our list of Navy Cross Awards.  Quartermaster Frank M. Upton was also awarded the Medal of Honor in this action.  Both men were serving onboard the USS Stewart near the stricken Florence H and rushed to rescue survivors of the blast.

 

 

Please Contact Us if you have further information on any of these awards.

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