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First Name: Sidney

Last Name: Amory

Birthplace: Norfolk, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Norfolk, VA
Middle Name: Griffith

Date of Birth: 19 March 1920

Date of Death: 24 March 1942

MIA Date: 01 March 1942

Rank or Rate: Fireman

Years Served: 3
Sidney Griffith Amory

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Sidney Griffith Amory was the the second son and second child born to Anthony Griffith and Fredericka Junita “Freddie”Weatherford Amory. Freddie was of Native American heritage. She was the gggrand daughter of the Creek Chief, William "Red Eagle" Weatherford. Anthony served in the US Army in France during WWI.

Sidney completed his sophomore year in high school in Trussville, Alabama in Jan 1937. On 07 Jan 1937, Sidney applied for enlistment at the US Navy Recruiting Station, Birmingham, AL., but he was medically rejected for dental issues. After his family moved to Washington, DC in 1938, Amory enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Co. 2351 at the National Capital District Camp NP-7 in Benning, District of Columbia. He received a discharge from the CCC in order to submitted an application for enlistment in the US Navy on 14 Jun 1938. His father gave his consent for him to enlist (Minority Enlistment) on 01 Nov 1938.

Sidney enlisted the following month on 6 Dec 1938 for a period of four years in the US Navy (NSN:256-32-84) at the Naval Recruiting Station, Washington DC as an Apprentice Seaman (AS). He reported to the Naval Training Station (NTS) Norfolk, VA for recruit training the following day. He completed recruit training on 3 Mar 1939. Amory was advanced in rate to Seaman Second Class (S2c) on 6 April 1939. He was transferred from NTS Norfolk, VA to the transport ship USS Henderson (AP-1) on 17 April 1939 for further transfer to aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) for duty. On 8 May 1939, he was transferred as a passenger to the destroyer tender USS Rigel (AD-13). She arrived in San Diego on 31 May 1939. The next day, S2/c Amory reported on board the Saratoga for duty. On 12 Jun 1939, he changed his rate to Fireman 3/c. Then on 16 Dec 1939, he was advanced in rate to Fireman Second Class (F2/c).

On 13 May 1940, F2 Amory was detached from Saratoga and transferred to the transport ship USS Chaumont (AP-5) as a passenger with orders to report to Asiatic Station for assignment. Chaumont island-hopped her way across the Pacific arriving in the Philippines in early Aug 1940. F2c Amory reported on board the destroyer USS Edsall (DD-219) for duty on 8 Aug 1940. On 3 Oct 1940, Amory was transferred to the Regimental Hospital, Fourth US Marines, Shanghai, China for medical treatment. He was released from the hospital and transferred to the auxiliary ship USS Gold Star (AG-1) for further transfer to the Receiving Station Cavite, P.I. He returned on board the Edsall on 1 Nov 1940 for duty.

Ordered to comply with the Asiatic Fleet CINC Adm. Thomas C. Hart’s “defensive deployment” well south of Manila, units of the Asiatic Fleet including destroyer tender USS Blackhawk (AD-9), USS Edsall (DD-219) and other ships of Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 57, got underway on 25 Nov 1941, and arrived on the morning of 29 Nov 1941 in Balikpapan, a major oil port on the eastern coast of Borneo.

On 8 Dec 1941, Edsall, an element of Destroyer Division 57 (DESDIV), was enroute to Batavia (Djakarta) when word of the attacks on Pearl Harbor was received. The division altered course to Singapore to act as ASW screen for Force Z. From Singapore, Edsall was sent to search for survivors of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, sunk off Malaya on 10 Dec. No survivors were found. It was learned later that other ships had retrieved the survivors. For the next month, Edsall and other units of DESDIV 57 were used to escort shipping to and from Australia. It was on one of these escort trips that Edsall participated in the sinking of IJN submarine (I-124) off Darwin. Several days later, Edsall was damaged during another attack on a suspected submarine. One of Edsall's depth charges exploded prematurely in shallow water damaging one of her propeller shafts. This damage would play an important role in her eventual sinking about a week later.

On 3 February, Edsall and other American units of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Force (ABDA) moved up to Tjilatjap, Java in order to be closer to the combat theater and refueling facilities. She continued her service as a patrol vessel off southern Java. On 26 February, she steamed from Tjilatjap with her sister ship USS Whipple (DD-217) to rendezvous with the converted seaplane tender USS Langley (AV-3) carrying P-40E fighters and crews for the defense of Java. On 27 February, the Langley, along with Edsall and Whipple, came under attack by sixteen (16) Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers of the Japanese 21st and 23rd Naval Air Flotillas and escorted by fifteen (15) A6M Reisen fighters. The attack fatally damaged Langley. She had to be abandoned and later scuttled by Whipple. Edsall rescued 177 survivors; Whipple, 308.

On 28 February, the two destroyers rendezvoused with the fuel replenishment ship USS Pecos (AO-6) off Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island some 250 miles southwest of Tjilatjap. A sudden attack by land based Japanese bombers forced Edsall and the other ships to head for the open sea. They headed directly south into the Indian Ocean for the rest of 28 February in high winds and heavy seas. Early in the pre-dawn hours of 1 March, Whipple and Edsall transferred all the Langley survivors to Pecos. There were now close to 700 personnel on board the ship. Whipple then set off for Cocos Islands as protection for the tanker Belita sent to meet her there. The Pecos, carrying a large number of survivors was ordered to Australia. Edsall had retained 32 USAAF personnel from Langley needed to assemble and fly an additional 27 P-40E fighters shipped to Tjilatjap aboard the transport Sea Witch. Edsall was instructed to return these "fighter crews" to Tjilatjap. At 0830, she reversed course and headed back to the northeast for Java.

At noon that day, planes from Japanese aircraft carrier Soryu attacked Pecos and struck again an hour later. Finally, in mid-afternoon, third and fourth strikes from aircraft carriers Hiryu and Akagi fatally wounded the Pecos. While under attack, Pecos radioed for help. After Pecos sank, Whipple returned to the scene intentionally arriving after dark. She eventually rescued 232 survivors. Many other survivors, although visible to crewmembers on board Whipple, had to be abandoned at sea because Whipple made sonar contact with what was believed to be several Japanese submarines. It was just too dangerous for her to remain in the area.

Edsall may have heard Pecos’s call for help or she may have been complying with orders to reverse course and steam toward Australia. For whatever the reason, Edsall reversed course and was never heard from again. The US Navy Department simply said Edsall was lost due to enemy action. F1c Amory was listed as missing in action on 01 Mar 1942. On 01 Feb 1944, F2c Amory was posthumously advanced in rate to Fireman First Class (F1c).

The US Navy Department declared all Edsall crewmembers “presumed dead” on 25 Nov 1945. This finding of presumptive death date was fixed in order to take care of settlements and claims. At that point no one suspected that survivors from Edsall were among many victims of war crimes on Celebres.

After WWII ended, an Allied War Crimes Tribunal was convened in Java. During the course of the Tribunal's investigations, an eyewitness to Japanese executions was discovered and interviewed. He testified that he witnessed the execution by the Japanese of a number of POWs in 1942. He led investigators to the Japanese Execution Grounds mass grave, Kendari II, Celebes, N.E.I. Five sets of remains in a group of about 10 were later identified from ID tags as USS Edsall crewmen. The other five were believed to be US Army Air force personnel on board Edsell from the Langley. Amory's remains were among them. F2c Loren Stanford Myers, the sixth positively identified Edsall crewman was found in another location on Celebres. All of these remains were disinterred and reburied in the US Military Cemetery, Barrackpore, India on 12 Nov 1946. After three years their remains were disinterred again and reburied in a mass grave at the National cemetery at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO on 20 Dec 1949. Myers’ remains were reinterred according to immediate family wishes in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI on 31 Mar 1950. With the discovery of Amory's remains, his presumed date of death was amended to 02 Mar 1942.

Because no known survivors lived to tell the story, the details surrounding the sinking of Edsall remained largely a mystery for more than a half century. Finally, after historians compiled bits and pieces of information from various allied sources over the years, Japanese records and eyewitnesses on the Chikuma recently became available. The new information points to a short but epic battle involving the aging Edsall and one of the world's strongest naval forces of its day.

After Edsall reversed her course on 01 Mar 1942 and steamed away from Java, she stumbled upon Admiral Nagumo's battle force, Kido Butai, that had been prowling the Indian Ocean in search of enemy shipping. Unfortunately, Edsall was spotted first. She was misidentified as a light cruiser of the Marblehead class. IJN battleships Hiei and Kirishima and heavy cruisers Tone and Chikuma were detached from the battle force to attack Edsall with surface gunfire.

The old four-stacker began evasive maneuvers frustrating the Japanese for the next hour and half. However, because of the damage done previously to one of her propeller shafts, Edsall was unable to make top speed or maneuver fully. At one point Edsall turned and launched her torpedoes narrowly missing Chikuma. The Japanese fired some 1400 rounds resulting in only one or two direct hits. The frustrated Admiral Nagumo called upon his carriers to finish off the Edsall. She was attacked by dive-bombers from two Japanese carriers (Kaga, Soryu,) and possibly a third (Hiryu) before succumbing to this devastating attack. The Edsall went down at 1900 hours on 01 Mar 1942, 430 miles south of Java.

Japanese eyewitnesses confirm that at least eight Edsall crewman from a large number of survivors were fished out of the water and brought on board the Chikuma. The rest of the survivors were left to their fate in the water. Chikuma and the rest of the battle force arrived at Staring Bay anchorage, Celebes on 11 Mar 1942. Three dozen POWs, 8 or more from the Edsall and the remainder from a Dutch ship, were turned over to the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces based at Kendari where they were executed on 24 Mar 1942 near Kendari II airfield.

F1c Amory was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal with fleet clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Philippine Defense Medal with clasp. He is likely eligible for the Prisoner of War Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon (retroactively).

U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012, F1c Sidney G. Amory, USN, died 2 Mar 1942 overseas. Remains returned from overseas WWII. Group burial with MM1 Horace W. Andrus, MM2c J.R. Cameron, MM3c Larry Vandiver, and F1c Donald F. Watters at Jefferson Barracks. MO on 20 Dec 1949.

Honoree ID: 317458   Created by: GML470




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