TO COMMEND LIEUTENANT CRONAN
Navy Department Will Take Official Notice Of His Bravery
WASHINGTON, October 21, 1907 – Officials of the Navy Department are in somewhat of a quandary as to how to reward Lieutenant William P. Cronan, who lost two fingers of his right hand recently in preventing the closing of the breech block of an eight-inch gun upon loose grains of powder during target practice on the battleship Connecticut.
Reports to the Department indicate that Lieutenant Cronan made a courageous effort to impede the closing of the breech block on the theory that an explosion was imminent in the turret and that the lives of the men that were in danger.
Secretary Metcalf will confer with Captain Hugo Osterhaus, who was in command of the Connecticut, and it is expected that the decision will be to write the young officer a letter commending him for his bravery.
GRANT’S GRANDDAUGHTER ENGAGED
SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 1913 – The engagement of Miss Nellie Grant of San Francisco and Santa Barbara, a granddaughter of General U. S. Grant, to Lieutenant Commander William Piggott Cronan of the United States Navy, was announced here today by Miss Grant’s mother.
Lieutenant Commander Cronan commands the destroyer Jouett, now in Hampton Roads.
Miss Grant is the daughter of Jesse R. Grant, second son of former President Grant.
MISS NELLIE GRANT WEDS
President’s Granddaughter Does Not Tell Mother Of Plans
SAN FRANCISCO, May 15, 1913 – Miss Nellie Grant, a granddaughter of President Grant, and Lieutenant Commander William Piggott Cronan, United States Navy, were married today by a Justice of the Peace without the knowledge of the bride’s mother, who announced the engagement a few weeks ago.
The Justice of the Peace has his Chief Clerk act as witness.
When Mrs. Grant was informed of the marriage, she said that she was satisfied.
The bride is the daughter of Jesse Root Grant of San Diego and San Francisco.
Lieutenant Commander Cronan is in command of the destroyer Jouet, stationed at Annapolis.
CAPTAIN W. P. CRONAN, NAVAL HERO, IS DEAD
End Comes in San Diego – Quick Wit And Bravery Saved A Turret Crew
March 28, 1929
The death of Captain William Piggott Cronan, United States Navy, retired, at his home in San Diego, California, on March 18, was announced in naval ordered received here yesterday.
Captain Cronan once saved the lives of a turret crew when he was a Lieutenant on the battleship Connecticut by his bravery and quick-wittedness. He was in command of a gun crew during firing practice in October 1907, when he realized that several grains of powder had sifted through where the powder bag was torn and had fallen on the breech grooves of the eight-inch gun, where the friction as the block was screwed into place would almost certainly cause a premature explosion, with heavy loss of life.
His sharp command to halt was not recognized by the crew, which had been working so fast that their movements were almost automatic. As the breech block was being swung to, Lieutenant Cronan jumped forward and plunged his hand into the breech. It was so badly mangled that the index finger had to be amputated, but his action prevented the explosion.
Captain Cronan was born in Connecticut on February 9, 1879 and was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1894. In 1913 he married Miss Nellie Grant, granddaughter of General U. S. Grant. He had been married and divorced previously. He retired from the Navy on October 4, 1923.
Died. Captain William Piggott Cronan, 50, of San Diego and New Haven, retired naval officer, clubman, yachtsman, once known as “the most popular man in the Navy”; in San Diego. He once rammed his hand into a gun breech to remove stray powder particles which, ignited by friction, would have caused a premature explosion. The gunners were closing the breech block. He lost his finger, saved the turret crew.
CRONAN, WILLIAM P
- CAPT US NAVY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 02/06/1879
- DATE OF DEATH: 03/18/1929
- BURIED AT: SECTION 6 SITE 9458
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
CRONAN, NELLIE GRANT W/O WILLIAM PIGOTT
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/05/1881 (Monmouth, New Jersey)
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/01/1972 (LaJolla, California)
- BURIED AT: SECTION 6 SITE 8458 SS
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Reviewed by: Michael Howard