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Robert Henry English (16 January 1888 - 21 January 1943) was a United States Navy Commissioned officer who commanded the U.S. Navy's submarine force in the Pacific Oceanmarker early in World War II.

English was born in Warrentonmarker, Georgiamarker, and was a member of the United States Naval Academymarker class of 1911. Early in his naval career he became a submariner. In 1917, while commanding submarine USS O-4 , he won the Navy Cross for his great heroism in rescuing an officer trapped in submarine USS O-5 after an explosion.

After a series of important assignments, he became commanding officer of light cruiser USS Helena , and during the Japanese attackmarker on Pearl Harbormarker in Hawaiimarker on 7 December 1941 was one of the first to bring his ship into action.

On 14 May 1942, he became Commander, Submarines, United States Pacific Fleet ), and was so serving when killed in the crash of Pan American Flight 1104marker into a mountain about SW of the city of Ukiahmarker in Mendocino Countymarker, Californiamarker on 21 January 1943. In the accident, English and other Navy officers were passengers on a four-engine Martin M-130 flying boat, being flown by a Pan American World Airways civilian crew. The aircraft — dubbed the “Philippine Clippermarker” before it had been purchased by the Navy and pressed into service for the war — was destroyed in the accident; all 19 aboard were killed.

For his exceptionally meritorious service in his last assignment, Rear Admiral English was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Namesake

USS English , an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer in commission from 1944 to 1970, was named in his honor.

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