January 15, 1890 (Waterbury, CT) – January 13, 1918; 27 years old
Last local address: 4 South Main Street, South Norwalk
Entered the service March 22, 1915
Serial number 1759675
USS Rowan

Born to Joseph Goodrow (1859-1923) and Caroline “Carrie” Parry Goodrow (1862-?). Sisters Louisa Partiss Goodrow (1879-1964), Clara (1881-1953), and Minnie (1895-1960). Brothers Benjamin “Bennie” (1883-1939) and Hubert (1887-1966).

Of the 4,422 counted as MIA from World War One, there were 80 from Connecticut, and one from Norwalk, Chief Machinist’s Mate (CMM) Goodrow.

He was electrocuted when a casing on a generator exploded aboard the USS Rowan. He was buried at sea.

From the Republican Farmer March 8, 1918

There also took place the other day, the first burial of an American naval man at sea from an American Destroyer over here. He was Willis Martin Goodrow, a machinists’ mate whose home was in Charleston, South Carolina. He was killed in an accident on board ship and was buried in a U-boat infested area. One o’clock on a bright January afternoon was chosen as the time for the service. The body was placed in a canvas casket. Draped with the stars and stripes, it reposed on the afterdeck of the ship while the bluejackets listened to the Episcopal burial prayer read by their commanding officer. The destroyer was brought to a stop for thirty seconds while four sturdy blue-jackets lowered the body of their shipmate over the starboard side of the vessel.

To read his mother’s application for a pilgrimmage to honor her son, click HERE.

Memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing, Suresnes American Cemetery, 123 Boulevard Washington, Suresnes, France. Photo provided by Keith Stadler, Employee at Suresnes American Cemetery, via e-mail April 1, 2020.


Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: