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Hull Number: DD-216

Launch Date: 10/18/2019

Commissioned Date: 04/06/2020

Decommissioned Date: 07/28/1945





Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

John D. Edwards, born in Isle of Wight County, Va. 2 August 1885, was appointed Machinist in the U.S. Navy 31 December 1908. During World War I Lt. Edwards was assigned to destroyer Shaw in British waters. While escorting troopship HMS Aquitania into Southampton, England, Shaw collided with Aquitania. Lt. Edwards, as one of 12 men who lost their lives, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.


Stricken 8/13/1945. Sold 11/30/1945

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2001

Launched on 18 October 1919 at the William Crump & Sons Yard in Philadelphia, the four-piper, JOHN D. EDWARDS, was commissioned on 6 April 1920. Following brief service on the Atlantic Station, the EDWARDS served in the Mediterranean as station and radio relay ship in the Beirut area. In 1921 she assisted in the transport of refugees from South Russia. By 1923 she was off Japan where she carried food and relief workers to Yokohama following a devastating earthquake. The next year she stood by to protect Americans and other foreigners during the political unrest in China. Leaving the Asiatic Station in 1925, she spent three years operating out of Norfolk, in the Caribbean, and on the European Station with fellow destroyers BORIE (DD-215), TRACY (DD-214), WHIPPLE (DD-217), BARKER (DD-213), and SMITH THOMPSON (DD-212). In 1929 she returned to the Far East, operating out of the Philippines, along the China coast, and off Japan. She guarded U.S. interests during the Sino-Japanese War in the late 1930s.

On 7 December 1941, the EDWARDS was in Balikpapan, Borneo, where she joined the American striking force to face the Japanese advance on the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. Leading the strike force were the heavy cruiser HOUSTON (CA-30) and the light cruisers MARBLEHEAD (CL-12) and BOISE (CL-47). With them were the thirteen destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 29. In addition to the flagship PAUL JONES (DD-230), the squadron was made up of the EDWARDS, WHIPPLE, ALDEN (DD-211), EDSALL (DD-219), PEARY (DD-226), POPE (DD-225), JOHN D. FORD (DD-228), PILLSBURY (DD-227), STEWART (DD-224), PARROTT (DD-218), BULMER (DD-222), and BARKER.

The EDWARDS, WHIPPLE, ALDEN, and EDSALL left Borneo immediately for a nightlong search for survivors of HMS PRINCE OF WALES sunk by Japanese bombers. At dawn, lookouts aboard the EDWARDS saw what appeared to be torpedo wakes all around the ship and learned later that the Japanese had fired thirty-eight torpedoes at the American ships. By February 1942, the EDWARDS was underway with the strike force to intercept a Japanese convoy heading for the Java Sea. On the morning of 4 February 1942, enemy bombers attacked the ships north of Bali and heavily damaged the HOUSTON and MARBLEHEAD. Following the attack, the EDWARDS escorted the damaged cruisers to Tjilatjap on the southern coast of Java. She then went on with the STEWART, BARKER, BULMER, PILLSBURY, and PARROTT to take part in a second disastrous meeting with the Japanese in the Bangka Strait on the morning of 15 February 1942. During the battle, near misses badly damaged the BARKER and BULMER who withdrew to Australia for repairs.

As part of an Allied force, the EDWARDS, STEWART, PARROTT, PILLSBURY, and the Dutch cruiser TROMP steamed into the Badoeng Strait to attack Japanese shipping bound for Bali. At 0136 on 20 February the STEWART, PARROTT, and PILLSBURY began a torpedo attack on a force of Japanese transports and their destroyer escorts. The EDWARDS also sent torpedoes into the fray but none of the American torpedoes hit and soon the destroyers were in a gun battle with the enemy, damaging the destroyers OSHIO and ASASHIO. A shell hit the STEWART, killing her executive officer and damaging her steering. When the TROMP joined the battle, she too was hit, but not disabled. As the Allied force retired from the Badoeng Strait, two enemy destroyers met the EDWARDS and the STEWART head-on. In the ensuing torpedo and gunfire battle the EDWARDS, PILLSBURY, and TROMP hit the Japanese destroyer MICHISHIO from port and starboard and left her dead in the water as they continued out of the strait.

The Americans continued on to Surabaya, Java, where the STEWART went into dry dock for critical steering repairs. In the meantime, the destroyers EDWARDS, ALDEN, FORD, and PAUL JONES with the rest of the Allied force steamed into the Java Sea in a desperate attempt to halt the Japanese invasion of Java on 27 and 28 February. For seven hours they fought against great odds. Shortly after 1700 the Dutch destroyer KORTENAER was torpedoed. The EDWARDS’s captain described the explosion that flung debris 100 feet in the air. “KORTENAER heeled away over¼ turned turtle and folded up like a jackknife¼ Men were blown high in the air¼” The crew of the EDWARDS could find no survivors. The Dutch lost two more ships, as did the British.

By nightfall, the EDWARDS and her fellow four pipers had used all their torpedoes and were low on fuel. They could neither outrun nor outshoot the enemy’s more powerful warships. They retired to Surabaya to refuel. They then got underway for Australia on the night of 28 February. In their wake Surabaya came under heavy air attack and in the evacuation, the STEWART was destroyed by American demolition crews, or so they believed. Nearly four years later, occupation forces discovered the salvaged destroyer in Japan. In the Java Sea, the Allies continued to suffer devastating losses. On 28 February, the HOUSTON and HMS PERTH were sent to the bottom, followed in separate battles on 1 March, by the sinking of the EDSALL, PILLSBURY, and POPE, which was the last Allied warship on the Java Sea.

After fighting a brief duel with enemy ships in the Bali Strait, the EDWARDS and her sisters managed to reach Fremantle in early March. She was assigned to escort duty in the Pacific and then was transferred to Brooklyn in June 1943. There she continued her escort duty, cruising the East Coast and escorting supply ships to North Africa. Later she trained submarines off the Canal Zone. With the end of the war in Europe, the JOHN D. EDWARDS steamed into Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 28 July 1945. She was sold for scrap in January 1946.

USS JOHN D. EDWARDS DD-216 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

John D. Edwards (DD-216) was laid down 21 May 1919 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; launched 18 October 1919; sponsored by Mrs. May Marshall Edwards, widow of Lt. Edwards; and commissioned 6 April 1920, Comdr. Alexander Sharp in command.

After shakedown, John D. Edwards departed Philadelphia 14 May 1920 to protect American lives and interests in Turkish waters. With the Near East in turmoil, the destroyer evacuated refugees and furnished communication facilities for that area. She remained in Turkish waters until she sailed 2 May 1921 for duty with the Asiatic Squadron.

Upon arrival at Cavite, P.I., 29 June, John D. Edwards immediately began patrols to protect American interests in the Far East. She was to remain there for 4 years operating out of the Philippines in the winter and China during the summer. Continuing the Navy’s long and distinguished record of missions of mercy, she gave vital aid to victims of the Japanese earthquake in 1923 and carried food and rescue workers to Yokohama. As the Chinese Civil War flared in 1924, the destroyer was on station to protect the rights of the foreigners in China. She departed the Far East 18 May 1925, arriving New York 13 July.

For the next 3 years she operated out of Norfolk making periodic training cruises along the coast and in the Caribbean. Following a Mediterranean cruise in late 1927 John D. Edwards transited the Panama Canal and arrived San Pedro, Calif., for service in the Pacific. She operated along the West Coast until 1 August 1929 when she sailed for the Far East, arriving Yokohama 26 August.

Subsequent to 1929, John D. Edwards became a permanent and important unit of the Asiatic Fleet. Operating out of the Philippines along the Chinese Coast and off Japan, she maintained American strength and prestige in that key area of the world and guarded our interests during the Sino-Japanese War in the late 1930’s. She constantly trained in maneuvers and battle practice and in addition, operated with the Yangtze, South China Sea and Neutrality Patrols.

As Japan became more aggressive in the Far East, John D. Edwards increased operations with submarines in various training exercises. Upon the commencement of hostilities with Japan 7 December 1941, she departed Balikpapan, Borneo, to search for survivors of HMS Prince of Wales. For the next 2 months she engaged in patrol, escort, and ASW operations in an attempt to halt the southward advance of powerful Japanese forces from the Philippines into the Netherlands East Indies. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 29, she departed Bunda Roads Madura Island, 4 February 1942. As part of a cruiser-destroyer striking force, she sailed for Makassar Strait to intercept a reinforced Japanese convoy heading for the Java Sea. That morning enemy bombers attacked the ships as the striking force steamed north of Bali. Despite antiaircraft fire, the Japanese planes carried out several attacks which heavily damaged Marblehead (CL-12) and Houston (CA-30). Following the attack,  John D. Edwards escorted the damaged cruisers via Lombok Strait to Tjilatjap on the southern coast of Java.

Despite the heroic defense by the combined Allied forces, the Japanese continued their push southward during the month of February. In mid-February John D. Edwards took part in the unsuccessful attempt to intercept a Japanese invasion convoy off Banka Strait in Palembang, Sumatra. Following this action, she steamed to the eastern coast of Bali to attack an enemy destroyer-transport force in Badoeng Strait. During the early hours of 20 February, John D. Edwards, accompanied by three other destroyers, engaged Japanese destroyers in a spirited torpedo and gunfire battle that severely damaged the enemy destroyer Michishio. The American destroyers returned to Surabaya, Java, later that day.

As part of the Combined Striking Force under Rear Admiral Doorman, RN, John D. Edwards engaged the Japanese Java Invasion Force 27 February in the Battle of the Java Sea. The gallant Allied ships courageously attempted to thwart the invasion of Java, and for 7 hours they fought the enemy against great odds. Japanese might prevailed and five Allied ships were lost. After expending all torpedoes during the battle, John D. Edwards returned to Surabaya to refuel. Accompanied by three other four-pipers, she departed for Australia after dark 28 February. While transiting Bali Strait during midwatch 1 March, the destroyers fought a brief duel with patrolling enemy ships. Lacking torpedoes and low on ammunition, the American ships opened range and steamed southward for Fremantle where they arrived early in March.

For the next 2 months John D. Edwards escorted convoys out of Australia before arriving Pearl Harbor 1 June. She escorted convoys from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco until 15 June 1943 when she arrived at Brooklyn to commence escort duty in the Atlantic. The destroyer cruised along the coast and to North Africa escorting supply ships during the next 9 months.

For the duration of the war John D. Edwards escorted convoys in the Atlantic and trained submarines off the Canal Zone. Following the end of the conflict in Europe the destroyer arrived Philadelphia 15 June 1945 and decommissioned there 28 July 1945. John D. Edwards was sold to Boston Metal Co. Baltimore, Md., January 1946.

John D. Edwards received three battle stars for World War II service.