Captain John P. Cromwell

September 11, 1901 – November 19, 1943

Captain John P. Cromwell was born in Henry, Illinois.  Each year, Henry celebrates the anniversary of Cromwell's birth to honor their local hero.  John P. Cromwell was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions "above and beyond the call of duty" during World War II.  Cromwell chose to sacrifice his own life to safeguard the lives of others in combat that took place in November 1943.
According to an article on theDay Connecticut website (see links below), Cromwell died to protect information about ULTRA, the code-name given to the highly classified intelligence.  Navy cryptologists had diciphered the Japanese naval code, and senior officers were reading decrypted enemy messages.  Cromwell was privy to this highly classified intelligence, and it was for that reason that he died fearing if he was captured and interrogated, that he might give up information about ULTRA and Galvanic; had the Japanese known their code was compromised, the Japanese would have been changed their code, causing more deaths.  This information was still considered confidential when Cromwell's citation was written. 
Captain Cromwell's Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the USS SCULPIN, during the Ninth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, 19 November 1943.  Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans.  Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his under seas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk.  Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese depth charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he authorized SCULPIN to surface and engage the enemy in a gunfight, thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship.  Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of reveling plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death.  Preserving the security of his mission at the cost of his own life, he served his country as he served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to duty.  His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the traditions of the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country."
Display pictures from the Navy Submarine School Museum in New London, Connecticut.
Thank You, Captain Kent Ketter for providing these pictures. 
Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor
Captain Cromwell was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor; only 3,465 have been awarded since 1862. 
In Memory of John Philip Cromwell
In 1954, the destroyer escort USS Cromwell (DE-1014) was named in honor of Captain Cromwell. The Navy's Submarine Learning Center at the submarine base in Groton Connecticut was also named for him, Cromwell Hall
Torpedo in Central Park, Henry, IL - In Honor of Captain John P. Cromwell
The memorial in Central Park was dedicated on July 4, 1974.
The words of the Medal of Honor citation are inscribed on one of the bronze plaques below the torpedo. The other one honors 374 officers and 3,131 men lost on 52 submarines during the war.
Henry's river front drive was named Cromwell Drive to honor Captain John Phillip Cromwell.