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Francis Kelly
Watertender Francis Kelly
Born (1860-07-05)July 5, 1860
Died May 19, 1938(1938-05-19) (aged 77)
Place of birth Boston, Massachusetts
Place of death Glasgow, Scotland
Buried at Sandymount Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Chief Machinist's Mate
Unit USS Merrimac
Battles/wars Spanish-American War
Awards Medal of Honor

Francis Kelly (July 5, 1860 – May 19, 1938) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of America's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in the Spanish-American War.


Francis Kelly enlisted in the US Navy from his birth state, Massachusetts, and served as a watertender in the collier USS Merrimac during the Spanish-American War. Kelly was one of eight volunteer crew members when Rear Admiral William T. Sampson ordered Merrimac sunk to block the entrance of Santiago Harbor, Cuba. On the night of 2-June 3, 1898, during the attempt to execute this mission, Merrimac's steering gear was disabled by enemy gunfire, and she sank without obstructing navigation. Her crewmen were rescued by the Spanish and made prisoners-of-war. After the Battle of Santiago de Cuba destroyed the Spanish fleet a month later, Kelly and his shipmates were released. For his actions during this operation, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Francis Kelly remained in the Navy after the Spanish-American War, ultimately obtaining the rank of chief machinist's mate. He is buried at Sandymount Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland.

Medal of Honor citation

Kelly's official Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

In connection with the sinking of the U.S.S. Merrimac at the entrance to the harbor of Santiago de Cuba, June 2, 1898. Despite heavy fire from the Spanish batteries, KELLY displayed extraordinary heroism throughout this operation.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

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