Lewis, Edward D

Edward DeHaven Lewis was born in 1922  in Honey Brook, PA. Edward was one of four children.

Edward was educated at local schools in Honey Brook, and was a member of his family church, the Honey Brook Presbyterian Church.

Edward entered service in the Navy in early 1943, and after basic training was assigned to newly launched Attack Troop Transport USS DuPage APA-41.  The ship was similar to the famous Victory ships, but a more advanced design. She was the same hull design as the “President” series of troop transports.  An Attack Troop Transport, carried troops to the place of battle, and delivered them to the beach (sometimes under enemy fire) with the landing craft carried on her decks.

The USS DuPage sailed through the Panama Canal, arriving at San Diego in November, 1943. She served as the flagship for the transport division during ensuing training. In January, she embarked over 2,800 Marines and sailed for the assault on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshal Islands.  After the Atoll was secured she sailed for Guadalcanal arriving in mid February, where she was then based. She carried troops for the assault landings an Emirau Island in Papua New Guinea in April and at Cape Gloucester New Britain in May. The ship then supported landing troops for the assault on Guam in June, and evacuated casualties.

In July and August, the USS DuPage returned her base in Guadalcanal, for maintenance, overhauling her well worn landing craft, and additional training. She then embarked troops for the assault on the Peleliu islands in September. Here the ship lost three of her landing craft in combat.

After the Peleliu campaign, the USS DuPage sailed to Hollandia , New Guinea, to embark troops for the assault on the Philippines.  The ship embarked troops for the first landing in the Philippines at Leyte Island. After landing troops, she returned to Hollandia to transport more troops. Leyte was the first Island in the Philippines to be retaken from the Japanese. This is where General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on October 20, 1944 fulfilling his promise, to the joy of the Filipinos, announcing to the world “I have returned”.

The landings at Leyte evoked a Japanese response. Japan put into effect their “Sho” (victory) Plan, and the resulting three pronged Naval attack, intended to crush the amphibious forces, became the largest Naval Battle in history.Men of the USS DuPage

The DuPage returned to New Guinea to embark troops for the next assault on the Japanese held Philippines - on the island of Luzon.  The ship landed troops in the Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945. The next evening, January 10, 1945, while preparing to depart, the ship was hit by a kamikaze aircraft, which crashed into the port side, damaging her severely and starting numerous fires. This ship survived to fight another day, but 35 crew members were killed, and 135 wounded. Edward was killed instantly. He died the same day and same location as Hero Emidio Falini of West Chester.

Seaman First Class Edward was buried at sea with religious and full military honors and is remembered on the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines. A Memorial service was held on  April 1, 1945 at the Honey Brook Presbyterian Church.

His brother John was a Sergeant in the Army.  He served two years overseas, and was stationed at the Reading, PA Army Airfield.

We know very little about Edward, his early life, his personality.  But the letters of commendation below give insight into the quality of Edward’s character.

The Captain G. M. Waughope wrote:
...you may be assured your son gave his life in the tradition of the navy – gloriously, fearlessly and proudly.  As his commanding officer I want you to know that Edward was a shipmate of whom we were all proud and with whom we were honored to serve.  The navy and the nation can ill afford to lose the valuable services of such a person as your son.”

Lieutenant Herman Schnurr,  Edward’s division officer, wrote: 
“…each officer and man aboard this ship keenly feels the loss of your son’s companionship and help which we suffered so recently.  Your son was a fine man, able and industrious in his work, devout in this attendance at Divine Services.  His calm acceptance of all situations, his ever present cheerfulness and infections good humor endeared him to all with whom he came in contact.  He was respected and liked by all his shipmates.

All the Officers and men join me in extending to you and yours our deepest sympathy and continued prayers.  If there is anyway in which we could be of assistance to you or yours please do not hesitate to ask it of any one of us: truthfully we would consider it a privilege to thus manifest our affection for our shipmate – you son.

Remember, Edward, being with God is now nearer to all of you then ever before.  He will obtain from the Lord the graces and benefits you need to sustain you in this present sorrow.”


Research by Don Wambold, WCMSC