Escape from a fiery death
By Mark Zimmerman
July 4, 1985

Front page of the Catholic Standard July 4, 1985.






(From the collection of Gunner's Mate 1st Class Francis B. McQueeney, USN
Courtesy of Patricia Lee)


William Francis Farrell Jr., served aboard the USS Franklin as Yeoman 2nd Class, age 18. He was wounded during the March 19, 1945 Japanese bombing of the aircraft carrier and was awarded a Purple Heart. One of the two 500-pound bombs ripped through a compartment only 10 feet from him and his shipmates. He appeared in a 1968 TV documentary "The Ship that Wouldn't Die" and recounted the experience. Father Bill, as he was known to us, said that the seed of his vocation was planted during the aftermath of that bomb attack on the Franklin. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 1964, he was elevated to Rt. Rev. Monsignor in 1970 and served as Chaplain to Pope Paul VI. He also built his own church in Maryland before he died in 1995.

-Patricia Lee


Page published Aug. 8, 2009