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Walter Atlee Edwards, born 8 November 1886 at Philadelphia, Pa., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1910. He received the Navy Cross for his distinguished service on the staff of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in European waters during World War I, and also was awarded the Distinguished Service Order by the King of England. On 16 December 1922 Lieutenant Commander Edwards, in command of Bainbridge (DD-246), lashed his ship to the burning French military transport Vinh Long in the Sea of Marmora, and rescued 482 men, women, and children, all who remained alive on board. For this heroic action he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Legion of Honor by the French Government. He died 16 January 1928 at Washington, D.C. DD-619 was named in his honor.
(DD-265:dp. 1,190; 1. 314'6"; b. 38'8"; dr. 9'3"; s. 36 k.;
cpl. 120; a. 4 4", 2 3", 4 21"tt.; cl. Clemson)
Edwards (DD-265) was launched 10 October 1918 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Squantum, Mass.; sponsored by Miss Julia Edwards Noyes, whose great grandfather was the uncle of Midshipman Edwards, and commissioned 24 April 1919 at Boston Navy Yard, Commander P. L. Wilson in command.
In May 1919 Edwards carried spare parts for airplanes and seaplanes to St. John's, Newfoundland, as reserves for the historic first transatlantic seaplane flight made by Navy planes. She sailed from Boston 28 May to report to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, for duty with the Food Administration. Arriving at Gibraltar in June, she took part in escorting George Washington carrying President Wilson into Brest, then visited England and Germany before returning to the States 25 August.
Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Edwards sailed from New York 17 September 1919 and arrived at the destroyer base at San Diego 13 October where she was placed in reduced commission with a partial complement 1 November 1919. In February 1920 she moved to Puget Sound Navy Yard, but returned to San Diego a year later where she remained in reserve, occasionally putting to sea for target practice. She was placed out of commission g June 1922.
Recommissioned 18 December 1939, Edwards was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol, and after overhaul, left the west coast 22 March for Galveston. She patrolled the Gulf and east coast until fall, then sailed to Halifax, where she was decommissioned 8 October 1940, and delivered to the British Government as one of the famous 50 destroyers exchanged for bases.
Commissioned in the Royal Navy 8 October 1940 as HMS Buxton for service in the third "Town" Flotilla, the overage destroyer served in Canadian waters briefly as the U-boat war intensified. She was then allocated to 6th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, for dangerous and vital duty keeping the supply line open to Britain. In October 1943, when newer escorts were available, she was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, and stationed at Digby, Nova Scotia, until the end of 1944. She was finally paid off early in 1945.