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  USS Edsall DD-219
USN
Clemson class destroyer

1,190 Tons
314' x 31' 9" x 9' 3"
4 x 4" guns
12 x 21" torpedoes
20mm & 50 cal MG

Wartime History
During late February 1942, USS Edsall and USS Whipple were ordered to rendezous with USS Langley AV-3 about 200 miles south of Java. The ships were attacked by nine Japanese bombers which soon reduced the Langley to a blazing wreck that had to be abandoned. Edsall rescued 117 of her survivors.

Sinking History
Afterwards, ordered to Christmas Island to with the US Navy tanker USS Pecos and then proceed to Fremantle. Survivors from the Langley were transferred over to USS Pecos. The three ships parted and Whipple set sail for the Cocos Islands to refuel while the Pecos continued on to Fremantle with the Edsall. Underway, the Pecos was attacked and sunk by D3A Val bombers from Japanese carriers in the area. The Whipple, after picking up her distress calls, turned back and rescued 233 survivors.

On March 1, 1942 the USS Edsall was last seensailing over the horizon on her way back to Java and was never heard of again. She was one of four American destroyers were not accounted for, they had simply 'disappeared', or so it was thought at the time.

In fact, she was attacked by Japanese ships that fired more than 1,000 rounds, but only two hit. At 18:24 she received a direct hit from the battleship Hiei and at 18:35 another from the cruiser Tone. Edsall was also attacked by nine D3A Vals from Soryu and eight from Akagi, which hit her with several bombs, leaving her dead in the water by 18:50. She was destroyed by the cruiser Chukuma and sank at 19:00.

Fate of the Crew
In 1952, investigators learned that eight of her crew had been picked up by the Japanese warship Ashigara and deposited on Celebes Island and executed near Kendari. Postwar, a group of natives directed Allied searchers to five graves covered with jungle vegetation. The graves were exhumed and five skeletons found, all identified by their ID tags as men from the Edsall.

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Last Updated
March 28, 2013

 

 

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