24 October 2010

Medal of Honor: W. A. Edwards


Lieutenant Commander, US Navy; commanding USS Bainbridge (DD 246)

Born: 8 November 1886, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: 15 January 1928, Washington DC

Citation: For heroism in rescuing 482 men, women and children from the French military transport Vinh-Long, destroyed by fire in the Sea of Marmora, Turkey, on 16 December 1922. Lt. Comdr. Edwards, commanding the U.S.S. Bainbridge, placed his vessel alongside the bow of the transport and, in spite of several violent explosions which occurred on the burning vessel, maintained his ship in that position until all who were alive were taken on board. Of a total of 495 on board, 482 were rescued by his coolness, judgment and professional skill, which were combined with a degree of heroism that must reflect new glory on the U.S. Navy.

Notes: Edwards also received the Legion of Honor from the French government and the Distinguished Service Order from the King of England for this action. USS Edwards (DD 619) was named in his honour.

The Naval Historical Centre has further information on the Vinh-Long fire (including photos) here.

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