Edwards, Houston Ernest, CEM

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Chief Petty Officer
Last Rating/NEC Group
Electrician's Mate
Primary Unit
1942-1944, EM-0000, Japan, Prisoner of War
Service Years
1917 - 1944
EM-Electrician's Mate
Six Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Edwards, Houston Ernest, CEM.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Speedwell, TN
Last Address
199 Madison St
Portsmouth, NH

Casualty Date
Jul 10, 1944
Hostile, Died while Captured
Illness, Disease
World War II
Location of Interment
Knoxville National Cemetery - Knoxville, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot A-5693, Row 25

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
The National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial WWII Memorial National RegistryWorld War II Fallen
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, WWII Memorial National Registry
  2013, World War II Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Submarine Enlisted Badge
Submarine Combat Patrol Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Perch (SS-176)Prisoner of War
  1938-1942, EM-0000, USS Perch (SS-176)
  1942-1944, EM-0000, Japan, Prisoner of War
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/Japanese air attacks on US vessels in Cavite
  1942-1942 East Indies Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of Java Sea
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jul 01, 1940, Promoted to CEM
  May 18, 2013, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On the evening of 1 March 1942, Perch surfaced 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Surabaya, Java, and started in for an attack on an enemy convoy landing troops to the west of Surabaya. Two enemy destroyers attacked and drove her down with a string of depth charges which caused her to bottom at 135 feet (41 m). Several more depth charge attacks caused extensive damage, putting the starboard motors out of commission and causing extensive flooding throughout the boat. After repairs, Perch surfaced at two o'clock in the morning, only to be again driven down by destroyers. The loss of oil, and air from damaged ballast tanks, convinced the enemy that Perch was breaking up and they went on to look for other kills, allowing her to escape.

With decks awash and only one engine in commission, the crew made all possible repairs. During the early morning of 3 March, a test dive was made with almost fatal results. Expert handling and good luck enabled her to surface, and she began making repairs. Then, as if this was not enough, two Japanese cruisers and three destroyers hove into view and began firing. As shells straddled the boat, her skipper ordered, "Abandon ship, scuttle the boat." With all hull openings open, Perch made her last dive. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register 24 June 1942.

The entire crew was captured by a Japanese destroyer. Of the fifty-four men and five officers, all but six - who died of malnutrition and disease in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps - were able to return to the United States after V-J Day. 

CEM Edwards died of disease while held as a prisoner of war.


Service number: 3554635

Prisoner of War Medal
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Rank: Chief Electrician's Mate
Division: Prisoner of War (Java)
General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Citation: Chief Electrician's Mate Houston Ernest Edwards (NSN: 3554635), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after his submarine, U.S.S. PERCH (SS-176), was scuttled on 3 March 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.
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