USS Edsall DD-219
Message Board

May 17, 2019

I was going through some of my grandmother's keepsakes and found a Presidential Certificate naming my Uncle, Charles Butler, officially dead. The official date of death was listed as 1945. He was presumed lost on the USS Edsall when it was lost in March of 1942. My Uncle was the ship's medial officer. He had graduated from UCLA medical school and had enlisted in the Navy sometime in 1941. The family, his mother, father, sister, (my mother) never knew what happened. They were just notified the USS Edsall was lost and no one ever knew what had happened. There was never any accounting as to what happened to the ship or the crew.

My grandmother always held out hope Charles and his shipmates, would be found on an island somewhere. After the war, every few months, missing sailors were found on islands and she would get her hopes up only to be disappointed.

They are all passed now and I only wished they were still here to finally learn what actually happened to Charles and his ship. However horrific his last hours were being shelled by 1400 rounds, I can't even imagine the courage those sailors had running that ship to stay afloat while still shooting back with what little they had.

I was born in 1943, 1 1/2 years after my uncle was declared missing. In memory of him, I too, was named Charles after my uncle. Thank you for putting up this site.

Charles Grey

Apr. 26, 2017

My mother's brother, Thomas G. Jones, was one of those many that went down with the USS Edsall. He had a wife and son who lived in California. There has never been any contact with them throughout the years. Would really like to hear from the son if he is still living. Or any of his off-spring. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the Maritime Questsite. Kudos to you.

Nola Poindexter Ballinger
Little Rock, Arkansas

Note: His mother and father were from Harlowton, Montana.

Jan. 21, 2017

I just discovered your excellent website with the California BB-44 pictures. I come from an old career navy family; both father and grandfather were China sailors, my grandfather serving on the monitor, Monandock (BM-3.) He retired to Vallejo, CA (Mare Island) sometime between WWI & WWII. Subsequently he was employed by Mare Island before retiring in 1947, I believe.

My father, Commander Robert T. Stagner (ret), a mustang, enlisted in 1933, serving on the USS Edsall  DD-219 at Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. In 1940 he volunteered for and was sent to submarine school at New London, CT. On Dec 7 th 1941 he was assigned to an S-boat, S-46, and on patrol off the Bahamas. My mother, pregnant with  me, was still in New London and returned shortly thereafter to Vallejo to spend the war years with my maternal grandparents.

They diverted my fathers boat to the Panama Canal Zone where for two months they guarded the western approaches to the Canal; he made three war patrols on the S-46. During this time the S-26 was accidently rammed by the subchaser USS Sturdy on 24 Jan 1942 while on patrol and sank with only the captain, executive officer and a lookout surviving. My mother who had by this time returned to Vallejo She heard a garbled newscast reporting the loss of S-something..6 during this time but with the information blackout at the time the news was not repeated and it took somewhat over two weeks before she was able to confirm that she was not a widow.

SubDiv 53 was then sent to Brisbane, Queensland, my father being a CPO at the time. In June 1942 he was commissioned as an ensign, upon arrival in Australia and assigned to the Submarine Tender USS Griffen (AS-13.)  In this position he was the project officer responsible for grafting on the temporary bow of the USS Growler, SS-215, before its transit back to the states for permanent repairs.

Dad was returned to the states in April 1944, seeing me for the first time a couple of weeks prior to my second birthday. Following an eight week leave he was temporarily assigned to a maintenance division in Mare Island, then ordered to Midway to join the crew of the USS Croaker SS-246. On the Croaker, he did two war patrols, the first into the Sea of Japan and the second into the South China Sea He retired from the navy in 1956 after 24 years service.

I also had an uncle, Arthur Dunham, my mother's brother, who was a seaman on the Tennessee, I believe,  at Pearl Harbor. He also retired after 30 years service, as a Master Chief Petty Officer.

Remnants of letters from my father to my aunts from his time in Shanghai have been published on this page,
Letters from Shanghai.

Robert R. Stagner
Central Point, Oregon

To post a message click the button below. All messages must be approved by the webmaster. If you are responding to a message please include the message number. If your email client is not set up you can email
your message directly to the webmaster for approval. (

Page published Jan. 18, 2017