William S. Cronan

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William S. Cronan
Willie Cronan, Medal of Honor, U.S.S. Bennington, San Diego Harbor, 21 July 1905..jpg
LCDR William S. Cronan (then LT, in the 1930s)
Born(1883-10-23)October 23, 1883
Chicago, Illinois
DiedOctober 22, 1959(1959-10-22) (aged 75)
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
RankLieutenant Commander
UnitUSS Bennington (PG-4)
AwardsMedal of Honor

William "Willie" S. Cronan (October 23, 1883 – October 22, 1959) was a boatswain's mate serving in the United States Navy during the first half of the twentieth century who was awarded the Medal of Honor for peacetime bravery in 1906.


Lt. Commander William S. Cronan USN (then Chief Bosun), 1910s

Cronan was born October 23, 1883, in Chicago, Illinois and after joining the navy was stationed aboard the USS Bennington (PG-4) as a Boatswain's Mate. On July 21, 1905, the USS Bennington was in San Diego, California when a boiler exploded. The combination of the explosion and the scalding steam killed a number of men outright and left others mortally wounded; the final death toll was one officer, Ensign Newman K. Perry and sixty-five men, making it one of the U.S. Navy's worst peacetime disasters. Nearly all of the forty-six who survived had an injury of some sort. Wounded himself, Cronan saved three of his shipmates from drowning, the third, after Cronan escaped from triage. For his actions Boatswain's Mate Cronan was awarded the peacetime Medal on January 5, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt.[1][2] He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the 1940s.

He died October 22, 1959, and is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego, California.[3] His grave can be found in section T, grave 534.[3]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 23 October 1883, Chicago, Ill. Accredited to: Illinois. G.O. No.: 13, 5 January 1906.


Serving on board the U.S.S. Bennington, for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Calif., 21 July 1905.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Interim Awards, 1901-1911; Cronan, Willie entry". Medal of Honor recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  2. ^ "Bennington". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center. February 8, 2006. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "William S. Cronan". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. June 3, 2000. Retrieved September 19, 2010.

External links[edit]