The Origin of Submarine Dolphins – The Fourth (and I think) Final Chapter

The rest of the story

This will hopefully be the final segment in my saga of how the Submarine Dolphin insignia came to be. Each stage along the way has been a lot of fun as I have sifted through magazines, articles on line, historical societies, the Library of Congress and a source which contains electronic copies of nearly every book that has been printed in the world for the past hundred plus years.

This chapter finally answers the question of who should get ultimate credit for the actual design that Bailey Banks and Biddle used in the 1920’s to create the emblem.

Here is his story:

“Let Us Never Forget” Submarine Dolphin Designer, Developer of First Submarine Sonar, USNA 1926, Captain William Crawford Eddy, USN

Captain Eddy designed the Submarine Force Dolphins worn by those qualified in Submarines from the 1926 Naval Academy Class Crest. Assigned to submarine duty but hard of hearing he developed the first submarine sonar. Forced out of the Navy because of his hearing problems, he went on to become an electronic wizard. He setup and ran Chicago’s first television station and trained 70,000 Navy personnel on the new technology…radar. For his leadership he was awarded Legion of Merit medal.

William Crawford Eddy was born on August 22, 1902 in Saratoga Springs, New York to William D. Eddy and Ethel J. Eddy. He attend high school at New York Military Academy. On July 25, 1922, he entered the United States Naval Academy as a Midshipman. In 1922, Midshipman Fourth Eddy and accomplished cartoonist and a submarine enthusiast was a member of the Class of 1926 Crest Committee. He designed his class crest using a bow on photo of the submarine USS O-2 and adding two dolphins rampant, with dolphins rapped around swords.

In June 1923, when Captain Ernest J. King (USNA 1901), Commander, Submarine Division Three (later Fleet Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations), suggested to the Secretary of the Navy that a device for qualified submariners be adopted. He submitted a pen-and-ink sketch as an example. A Philadelphia firm, Bailey, Banks and Biddle, was contracted to design a suitable badge.

In 1924, Mr. George Meale of that firm mentioned to Midshipman Eddy that they were looking for a design. The firm was familiar with Midshipman Eddy for his work on the Class Crest Committee and as Chairman of the Class Ring Committee. Midshipman Eddy, using sketches of the 1926 Naval Academy class crest that he designed, and by simply removing the eagle, anchor, swords and flattening out the dolphins, resulted in the present day submarine insignia.

While at the Academy Midshipman Eddy was a member of Log Staff; Associate Editor of the Lucky Bag; Class Secretary; UMCA Director; Christmas Card Committee; Class Crest Committee; and Chairman Ring Committee. He earned his Navy “N” in varsity crew and was Head Cheerleader first class year. Unfortunately, he developed a slight hearing problem but kept it secret by reading lips. Midshipman Eddy graduated 294 of 456 from the Naval Academy on June 3, 1926.

Submarine USS O-2 in dry dock in 1928. A bow on view of the O-2 was used by Midshipman Eddy in the design of the USNA Class of 1926 crest and Submarine Force dolphin insignia.

In the 1926 United States Naval Academy Lucky his roommate wrote:

“You would know that this lad could pull an oar just by looking at him. His failing for boats began Plebe summer. He bought one Second Class year and thought it would float – until launching.

There are a few things that Crawf would rather do than talk. One of them was to draw a slip which read: “Sketch and describe.” Then his mark for the day was secure. There were drawbacks to living with this human Vic for four years, but he has a line that seldom if ever, gets monotonous.

Being a Red Mike he was supreme in joy as master presenter of bricks. This fact kept many would – be snakes from the clutches of wily Crabs. Incidentally, the fair lady who captures Crawf will surely be “different.” “Regulation” is a word that rarely, if ever, occurred to him, but we feel that he will make a successful officer.”

(Note: Red Mike was the term used for midshipmen who dated rarely and Brick was the term used for an award given to the midshipman who dated the homeliness girl that weekend as judged by midshipmen of his Company.)

On August 9, 1926, Ensign Eddy was assigned to light cruiser USS Cincinnati (CL-6). Cincinnati was assigned to Atlantic and Caribbean operations until early in 1927. On February 17, 1927, Cincinnati sailed from Balboa, Canal Zone, for duty in the Far East. Cincinnati was initially sent to Nicaragua to “fight the Banana Wars,” then dispatched to China to protect American interests and “show the flag” along the Yangtze River.

Cincinnati was based at Shanghai until October 1927, then at Manila, and again at Shanghai from February to April 1928.

On July 11, 1927, Ensign Eddy married Christine L. D. Woolridge in Hankow China. Together they had three children, son William Crawford Eddy Jr and two daughters Nancy Eddy and Diana Eddy Van Ordan.

In 1928, Ensign Eddy requested and received a transfer to the submarine service. At six-foot six, he was almost too tall for submarines.

On January 1, 1929 to November 1929, bypassing submarine school, Ensign Eddy was assigned to the submarine USS S-35. During the summer and into the fall, S-35 conducted similar operations out of Tsingtao, China and, in November, she returned to the Philippines for winter operations. With his hearing problem unknown to his superiors, LTJG Eddy was assigned as Sound Officer on a boat which had the old binaural SC tubes which required perfect hearing in both ears to locate and track the target. As a result S-35 had a dismal record in submerged attacks. To compensate for his hearing problem, he designed a visual display for audio tracking signals. Thus creating the first submarine sonar…this apparatus was widely used on submarines for many years.

While on board S-35, LTJG Eddy completed qualifications for command of submarines. His submarine dolphins were the first stamped from his design.

On January 1, 1930, LTJG Eddy received orders to report under instruction at Naval Submarine School, New London Connecticut. Although already qualified to command a submarine, he still had to complete submarine school.

On June 16, 1930, LTJG Eddy was assigned to submarine USS O-3.

On April 1, 1931, LTJG Eddy was assigned to the submarine USS R-3.

By January 1, 1933, LTJG Eddy was assigned to submarine USS R-14.

On July 16, 1933, LTJG Eddy was assigned to Submarine Base New London, Connecticut. LTJG Eddy set up an electronics course for officers. He had his own laboratory for conducting research in underwater sound gear and signal communicating from a submerged position; his research resulted in four secret patents. When standing a physical examination for promotion to Lieutenant, his hearing loss came to light, and he was forced into disability retirement at the close of 1934.

On December 1, 1934, LTJG Eddy retired from the Navy due to a medical discharge.

In 1936, Mr. Eddy met Mr. Philo Farnsworth in Philadelphia while the electronics pioneer was beginning experiments in the transmission of television pictures. Over the next two years, the Farnsworth team, including Mr. Eddy, developed what is known as the saw tooth scanning television transmission.

Mr. Eddy later worked for RCA, creating special effects and lighting for early telecasting.

In 1941, Mr. Eddy set up the Chicago station WBKB-TV, handling all aspects of the business.

From August 11, 1942 to September 1, 1945, Eddy was Commanding Officer of Radio Chicago. On January 29, 1943, Eddy returned to active service as a Lieutenant Commander. Few United States Navy ships had radar and almost no personnel were trained in the secret technology. This lack of training became the responsibility of LCDR Eddy. In 1942 the Electronics Training Program was started in mid-1942 as a combined effort of six engineering colleges and several highly advanced Navy schools. The training program was of almost unbelievable intensity, cramming the major topics of a standard electrical engineering curriculum into less than a year. LCDR Eddy was largely responsible for its coordination. An admissions examination, commonly called the Eddy Test, was used in selecting the students.

On September 7, 1943, LCDR Eddy was promoted to the temporary rank of Commander.

On November 5, 1944, Commander Eddy was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Captain Eddy graduated nearly 70,000 electronics experts from his school during World War II, using the facilities of Chicago’s old WBKB, a television station he built for movie palace owner Barney Balaban in 1939. For his efforts Captain Eddy was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Legion of Merit Awarded for Actions during World War II

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in awarding Captain William C. Eddy, United States Navy, the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of Radio Chicago from 11 August 1942 to 1 September 1945.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 346 (January 1946)

Service: Navy

Rank: Captain

Captain Eddy died in his Michigan City, Indiana home at 87 after a long illness. Captain Eddy is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia.

This will be my last article on the Dolphins. Looking at the design and the final results, I am more convinced than ever that a Dolphin is just a Dolphin.

Original Three Chapters:

Mister Mac

11 thoughts on “The Origin of Submarine Dolphins – The Fourth (and I think) Final Chapter

  1. Really enjoyed this series. BZ for a very informative and interesting dive into the history of Submariner Dolphins and the people involved in their design.

  2. BZ Mister Mac on your diligent searches into this topic and getting to the bottom of the design and coming out on top of our “dolphins”.

    1. Thanks Jim. I do my best to try and find the truth behind the legends. We have an amazing legacy and I want people to know as much of the facts as they do the fiction

  3. Compliments on a good series! I found it interesting because on my board I was asked this question. I found on the COMSUBFOR public page (which the Navy claims as an official USN website) they refer to them originally as Dolphins, but later mention that today’s design utilizes “Dolphin fish”. I never came across the old message you posted prior which makes me curious to if they changed it over time. I always considered it another unique thing about the history of Submarines and Submariners.

  4. Sub Insignia has Distinguished Background.
    Hi Mac.
    Although an avid reader of your blogs for some reason I had not read any of your four posts over the years on the discussion and disagreements, in its simplest form, ‘was the original concept of a submariner qualification pin confusion between the fish Dolphin and the mammal Dolphin.’

    I have been discussing this from time to time and I have opined a long time ago that I strongly believe the original intentions of then Capt. King was to have the mammal Dolphins displayed in his pen and ink sketch that accompanied his recommendation for a submariner insigne, NOT the Dolphin Fish (Mahi-Mahi, Pompano, et al) that wound up being selected.

    (Oh… thank you for finding and posting a copy of King’s submitted pen-and-ink drawing of his version of a pin. I had only done cursory searches… to no avail.)

    I believe his logic was that submarines must surface from time to time for air, as does the mammal Dolphin that must broach. Dolphin fish do neither. And I believe he was also considering the image he suggested was to be of the ‘traditional attendants of Poseidon’ from ancient Greek Mythology.

    Looking at the image in the link – – the forehead is curved similar to the dolphin fish. However, the flukes, particularly the snout and overall body shape are of the mammal.

    The mammal Dolphin was described as Greek DELPHIN – Translation: Dolphin.

    Nereid riding dolphin, Apulian red-figure plate C4th B.C., State Hermitage Museum
    DELPHIN was a dolphin-shaped sea daimon in the service of the god Poseidon. When his master was wooing the Nereid Amphitrite and she fled, Delphin was sent to find the nymphe and persuade her to agree to the marriage. For his service Poseidon placed the dolphin amongst the stars as the constellation Delphinus.

    Article source:
    The insignia of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Service is a Submarine flanked by two dolphins. Dolphins, the traditional attendants to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and patron deity of sailors, are symbolic of a calm sea.
    The origin of the U.S. Navy Submarine Insignia dates back to 13 June 1923. Captain Ernest J. King, USN, Commander, Submarine Division Three (later Fleet Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations during World War II), suggested to the Secretary of the Navy, via the Bureau of Navigation (later known as BUPERS), that a distinguished device for qualified submariners be adopted. He submitted a pen-and-ink sketch of his own showing a shield mounted on the beam of a submarine, with dolphins forward and aft of the conning tower. The suggestion was strongly endorsed by Commander Submarine Divisions, Atlantic. During the next several months the Bureau of Navigation solicited additional designs from several sources. Among the designs were a submarine and shark motif, a submarine and shield, and submarines with ancient dolphins.
    A Philadelphia firm, Bailey, Banks and Biddle, which had done work for the Navy previously, was requested to design a suitable badge. In 1928, Mr. George Meale, representing the firm, mentioned to Ensign William Crawford Eddy that they were looking for a design for “Submarine Wings” to denote qualifications in Submarines. Using his original sketches of the 1926 Naval Academy class crest that he had designed, Eddy came up with the present submarine insignia which was adopted by the Navy and is in use today (shown above), a bow view of surface submarine, with bow planes rigged for diving, flanked by dolphins in horizontal position, their heads resting on the upper edge of the bow planes. Future Navy Captain Eddy then recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that the design be adopted. The recommendation was accepted by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Acting Secretary of the Navy.

    All this said, this is great fodder for discussion but in the end is moot as we cannot rewrite history. And who knows? Possibly Capt. King did not consider the mammal Dolphin. I think not though.

    Happy new year old shipmate.
    Bob Gerle, Sr.
    New Construction and Plank owner USS James Madison SSBN-627
    COB USS Sargo SSN-583

Leave a Reply to Finious Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s