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First Name: Francis

Last Name: Kelly

Birthplace: Boston, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Machinist's Mate Chief Petty Officer

Home of Record: MA

Date of Birth: 05 July 1860

Date of Death: 19 May 1938

Rank or Rate: Chief Petty Officer

Years Served:
Francis Kelly

•  Spanish-American War (1898)


Francis Kelly

Chief Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

Spanish-American War

Chief Machinist's Mate Francis Kelly (5 July 1860 - 19 May 1938) was a U.S. Navy sailor who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Spanish-American War.


Francis Kelly was born on 5 July 1860 in Boston, MA. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from Massachusetts and served as a Watertender in the collier USSĀ 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 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.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Watertender, U.S. Navy

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

Chief Machinist's Mate Francis Kelly died on 19 May 1938. He is buried at Sandymount Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland.

Honoree ID: 1907   Created by: MHOH




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