Frank William Crilley
Ensign, United States Navy
New Jersey State Flag
Born at Trenton, New Jersey, on September 13, 1883, he won the Medal of Honor while serving as a Chief Gunner's Mate at Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 24, 1915.

He died on November 23, 1947 and was buried in Section 8 of Arlington National Cemetery.

NOTE:  See associated story on the F-4.

Courtesy of the United States Navy
Ensign Frank W. Crilley, USNR (1883-1947)

Frank William Crilley was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on 13 September 1883. Following enlistment in the Navy in March 1900, he became a Gunner's Mate and received additional training as a diver. In 1915, while a Chief Gunner's Mate, he made dives to over 300 feet during salvage operations on the sunken Submarine F-4 (SS-23) off Honolulu, Hawaii. On 17 April 1915 he rescued a fellow diver who had become entangled at a depth of 250 feet. For his heroism on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1929.

In 1917, Crilley was appointed to the rank of Gunner (T), and in February 1918 became an Ensign in the Naval Reserve. He commanded USS Salvor in 1919 and left active duty in July of that year. In the mid-1920s, he was involved with salvaging USS S-51 (SS-162), and returned to active Naval service in 1927-28 to work on the recovery of USS S-4 (SS-109). He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions as a diver during that operation.

In 1931, Frank Crilley served as Second Officer and Master Diver during the Arctic expedition of the civilian submarine Nautilus. Also in 1931, he assisted with the salvage of USS Mayflower (PY-1). Transferred to the Retired List in May 1932, he was again employed on Navy work in 1939, during the salvage of USS Squalus (SS-192). Ensign Frank W. Crilley died at the Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, on 23 November 1947.

USS Crilley (YHLC-1), 1967-1993, was named in honor of Ensign Frank W. Crilley.

FW Crilley PHOTO

FW Crilley PHOTO

FW Crilley PHOTO

FW Crilley PHOTO
Photos Courtesy of the Home of Heroes


Rank and organization: Chief Gunner's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 September 1883, Trenton, New Jersey. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. (19 November 1928). 


For display of extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession above and beyond the call of duty during the diving operations in connection with the sinking in a depth of water 304 feet, of the U.S.S. F-4 with all on board, as a result of loss of depth control, which occurred off Honolulu, T.H., on 25 March 1915.

On 17 April 1915, William F. Loughman, chief gunner's mate, U.S. Navy, who had descended to the wreck and had examined one of the wire hawsers attached to it, upon starting his ascent, and when at a depth of 250 feet beneath the surface of the water, had his lifeline and air hose so badly fouled by this hawser that he was unable to free himself; he could neither ascend nor descend. On account of the length of time that Loughman had already been subjected to the great pressure due to the depth of water, and of the uncertainty of the additional time he would have to be subjected to this pressure before he could be brought to the surface, it was imperative that steps be taken at once to clear him.

Instantly, realizing the desperate case of his comrade, Crilley volunteered to go to his aid, immediately donned a diving suit and descended. After a lapse of time of 2 hours and 11 minutes, Crilley was brought to the surface, having by a superb exhibition of skill, coolness, endurance and fortitude, untangled the snarl of lines and cleared his imperiled comrade, so that he was brought, still alive, to the surface.

DATE OF BIRTH: 09/13/1883
DATE OF DEATH: 11/23/1947

DATE OF BIRTH: 10/02/1892
DATE OF DEATH: 07/03/1969

Frank W. Crilley Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Raymond L. Collins

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson

Updated: 24 September 2000 Page Updated 1 May 2001 Updated: 15 March 2003  Updated: 17 September 2005
US Navy Medal of Honor

Navy Cross