Daily Event for October 5, 2009

On Oct. 5, 1918 there was an explosion on the submarine USS O-5 (Submarine #66) (later SS-66) while at the New York Naval Shipyard, one man was killed and two others, including the commanding officer, were badly injured. The commanding officer was removed from the boat by Lt. Commander Robert H. English, USN, who risked his own life to rescue him. He sadly languished in agony until he was finally released from his torment on Oct. 14.

Two men from the destroyer USS Wickes (DD-75) rushed into the boat and aided in the rescue, one, Fireman 1st Class Frank J. Trudeau, USN, was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions. Lt. Commander English also received the Navy Cross, his second, and later achieved the rank of Rear Admiral. In the Second World War he became Commander Submarines U.S. Pacific Fleet, but on Jan. 21, 1943 he was killed in a civilian plane crash in California. USS English DD-696 was named in his honor.

The boat was repaired and was later the scene of another disaster when on Oct. 28, 1923 she was run down by SS Abangarez in Limon Bay, Canal Zone. Two men were trapped in her sunken hull, one by choice.

Torpedoman 2nd Class Henry Breault, an ex-Royal Navy seaman, scrambled to the hatch of the boat, but before it went down he returned to the torpedo room to help a trapped man named Brown. He entered the torpedo room and closed the bulkhead door locking both men inside. After more than thirty hours the two men were rescued, Breault was later awarded the Medal of Honor. The O-5 was raised and scrapped.
© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Date of death
Oct. 5, 1918
Battery explosion at New York
Sharkey, William J.
Lieutenant (j.g.)
Trever, George A.
Lt. Commander
Commanding Officer
Awarded Navy Cross
Oct. 28, 1923
Vessel loss
Hughes, Clyde E.
Motor Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Metzler, Thomas T.
Fireman 1st Class
Smith, Frank C.
Mess Attendant 1st Class

USS O-5 seen in April 1918.

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2007 Daily Event
2008 Daily Event