Lewis Arthur Edwards was born October 19, 1913 to Lewis A. and Carrie Edwards in St. Albans, Kanawha County, West Virginia. Lewis spent his whole childhood living in St. Albans, and the Edwards family was a well established part of the community. In 1925 Lewis's father served as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Lewis graduated from Morris Harvey College and worked for Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation for eight years before attending Park Air College in East St. Louis.
Lewis entered the United States Army on July 26, 1940 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. While first serving as part of the enlisted personnel, Lewis was later commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on July 27, 1941 to serve with the Army Air Corps. During this time Lewis was stationed in the Philippine Islands.
Lewis served gallantly as an instructor in the Army Air Forces in the Philippines as part of the 28th Bomber Squadron, 19th Bomber Group-Heavy, but he was captured by the Japanese forces on Bataan. He was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines until October 11, 1941. On that day, Lewis was boarded onto the Arisan Maru for transport to Japan. Since the ship was unmarked, it was torpedoed by an Allied submarine in the South China Sea on October 24, 1941. 1,795 prisoners of war lost their lives on that ship; Lewis Arthur Edwards was one of them. The evidence of his death was received by the War Department on June 16, 1945.
Lewis was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Lewis Arthur Edwards's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Lewis's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.
Hellships of World War II
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History