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

Born to Joseph Goodrow (1859-1923) and Caroline “Carrie” Parry Goodrow (1862-1930). Three sisters, Louisa Partiss Goodrow (1879-1964), Clara (1881-1953), and Minnie (1895-1960). Two 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 machinist’s mate whose home was in Charleston, South Carolina. He was killed in an accident onboard a 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.

CMM Goodrow’s mother died in 1930. A woman claiming to be his “in loco parentis” (in the place of a parent), attempted to make the pilgrimage to Europe in the government program for mothers of those who died during the war. She was declined. The report is 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.


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.


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