LCDR Edward Rowell Holt, Jr.

Is your surname Holt?

Research the Holt family

LCDR Edward Rowell Holt, Jr.'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

LCDR Edward Rowell Holt, Jr.

Death: August 06, 1945 (30)
At sea
Place of Burial: SITE* Manila American Cemetery and Memorial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward Rowell Holt and Sallie Egerton Holt

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About LCDR Edward Rowell Holt, Jr.

LCDR Holt and his crew were killed in action on August 6, 1945 which coincided with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

Edward Rowell Holt Jr. was born on July 6, 1915 in Hickory, North Carolina to Mr. Edward Rowell Holt and Mrs. Sallie (Martin) Holt. In 1933 he graduated from Central High School in Charlotte, North Carolina where his nickname was “Skillet.” He attended Marion Military Institute in Alabama and then Clemson College for two years. In 1935, he was a Corporal in Company G of the Army Clemson’s ROTC. Leaving Clemson he enlisted in the Army National Guard as a private. Chosen to take the entrance examination for Admission to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York on July 1, 1935. On July 15, 1938, he entered the United States Naval Academy as a Midshipman. He was a member of Navy’s varsity soccer team. Midshipman Holt graduated 481 of 581 Midshipman on June 1, 1939.

In the 1939 Lucky Bag, Midshipman Holt’s roommate wrote: Through the bustle of his four years at the Naval Academy, Skillet has shown effort and energy of which he should be proud. He is easy-going, but not lazy, and when there is reason for hurry, Skillet can show speed that is surprising. He thinks nothing of being in the shower at formation time, for dressing in two minutes is easy for him—he can do it without losing one bit of his Southern dignity. All of us have seen Skillet's art work—many of us have had him draw personal illustrations that only his sense of something could comprehend. Skillet combines an energetic, jovial personality with a great sense of humor in such a way that making friends is the inevitable result.

On June 24, 1939 to October 1939, Ensign Holt was assigned to battleship USS Arizona (BB-39). From October 1939 to November 1940, Ensign Holt was assigned to destroyer USS Cushing (DD-376). Ensign Holt was assigned to battleship USS Wyoming (BB-32) and USS New York (BB-34). In 1941, Ensign Holt was under instruction at Submarine School, New London Connecticut.

On February 12, 1942, Ensign Holt was assigned to the commissioning crew of submarine USS Grouper (SS-214). After shakedown in Long Island Sound, Grouper sailed for Pearl Harbor March 30, 1942 to join the Pacific Submarine Force. Before departing for her first war patrol, Grouper was assigned to the submarine screen which ringed the area as the American and Japanese fleets clashed in the decisive Battle of Midway. Patrolling the fringe of the fighting June 4, 1942, Grouper sighted two burning enemy carriers, but could not close for attack because of heavy air cover. On that day she was strafed by fighter planes and driven deep in a series of aircraft and destroyer attacks which saw over 170 depth charges and bombs dropped on the new submarine.

On June 5, 1942 as the battle still raged. Grouper crash-dived to avoid heavy bombers, then after three days at Midway to fuel and provision, Grouper sailed on her first war patrol June 12, 1942. She torpedoed and damaged two Japanese Marus in the China Sea before returning to Pearl Harbor July 30, 1942. On Grouper’s second patrol from August 28, 1941 to October 9, 1942 Grouper had the satisfaction of sending to the bottom two freighters, Tone Maru on September 21, 1942 and Lisbon Maru on October 1, 1942. On Grouper’s third patrol, made November 12 to December 31, 1942, she patrolled to Brisbane, Australia. On December 17, 1942, Grouper sank Bandoeng Maru, a passenger-freighter headed for the Solomons with troop reinforcements.

During Grouper’s fourth war patrol January 21 to March 18 1943 she rescued an aviator stranded on Rengi Island for several days and located several key Japanese radar installations in the Solomons. Grouper’s next four patrols netted her no further kills, despite several determined attacks, but illustrated the varied tasks submarines took on during the war. In addition to her regular patrol duties, which harassed Japanese shipping and tied up valuable warships desperately needed by the enemy, Grouper landed 50 men and 3,000 pounds of gear on New Britain Island to carry on guerrilla warfare and at the same time rescued an American aviator stranded there almost 3 months. At the conclusion of her eighth patrol, Grouper headed for the States and overhaul, reaching San Francisco on October 19, 1943. On November 20, 1943, Lieutenant Holt married, Miss Mary Herndon Davis at First Presbyterian church in Laurens, South Carolina. From May 20, 1944 to January 1, 1945, LCDR Holt was assigned as commissioning Executive Officer on submarine USS Baya (SS-318).

From April 1945 to July 31, 1945, LCDR Holt was assigned as Executive Officer aboard submarine USS Sealion (SS-315). By April 30, 1945, Sealion was again ready for sea. With submarines Bashaw (SS-241) and Hammerhead (SS-364), she departed Subic Bay for the northern part of the South China Sea. Through May, she patrolled off Hong Kong and provided lifeguard services for strikes against Formosa. At the end of the month, she received downed aviators from submarine USS Bream (SS-243) and transported them back to Subic, then with passengers bound for Hawaii, she sailed east. On June 12, 1945, she arrived at Guam, whence she proceeded to a lifeguard station off Wake Island and, on June 30, 1945, she cleared that area for Pearl Harbor.

USS Bullhead was a 1526-ton Balao class submarine, built at Groton, Connecticut. Commissioned in December 1944, she went to the Pacific shortly thereafter and left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for her first war patrol in March 1945. It took her into the South China Sea, where she twice used her deck gun to shell an enemy-held island, rescued three United States Army bomber aircrew men and had the unenviable experience of being attacked by another United States bomber, whose bombs fortunately missed their target. During this patrol Bullhead also carried Martin Sheridan, the only Second World War occasion when a War Correspondent accompanied a United States submarine on a combat mission. After the war, Sheridan authored a book, Overdue and Presumed Lost – The Story of the USS Bullhead in which he tells of near misses with enemy mines, crash dives to avoid enemy aircraft, and a daring mission to rescue downed airmen. Operating out of Freemantle, Australia, after April 1945, Bullhead's second war patrol, in the Gulf of Siam and the South China Sea, produced attacks on several small Japanese vessels.

On July 31, 1945, LCDR Holt took command of submarine USS Bullhead (SS-332). He was the eighteenth and last officer from the Naval Academy class of 1939 to command a fleet boat in combat.

On July 31, 1945, Bullhead with LCDR Holt commanding started her third war patrol to the Java Sea. USS Bullhead rendezvoused with Dutch submarine Q-21, on August 2, 1945 and transferred mail to her. She was to leave her patrol area at dark on August 5, 1945 and head for Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. Submarine USS Capitaine and Puffer were also to patrol in the Java Sea area, as were the British submarines HMS Taciturn and Thorough. Bullhead arrived in area on August 6, 1945, but Capitaine did not arrive until August 13, 1945. On August 12, 1945 Capitaine ordered Bullhead to take position the following day in a scouting line with Capitaine and Puffer. There was no reply and on August 15, 1945, Capitaine reported, "Have been unable to contact Bullhead by any means since arriving in area." On August 24th, she was reported overdue and presumed lost. On August 6, 1945, a Japanese Army aircraft, belonging to the 73rd Chutai, based on Bali, made an attack at 0803 hours in Lombok Strait, dropping 2 x 60 kg bombs which the pilot claimed to have hit, with oil and bubbles surfacing in the aftermath. It is presumed that the proximity of mountain peaks shortened Bullhead's radar range and prevented her from detecting the plane's approach. She went down with all-hands. Bullhead was not heard from again and was presumed sunk, with her entire complement of 84 officers and men. According to Australian writer Tim Baldock, author of Fortress Fremantle: Its Lost Sub & Contributions to World War II, the twin significance of the submarine’s sinking and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima occurring on the same day “inspired me to write the book about Fremantle and dedicate it to the memory of Bullhead.” LCDR Holt’s personal decorations includes: Navy Cross, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation (2), American Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with Bronze Star, Submarine combat insignia, World War II Victory Medal

Memorial services were held at Norfolk Naval Air Station on October 27, 1946 and flowers strewn at sea and at Myers Park Baptist Church September 15, 1946.

LCDR Holt is remembered at the Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila Philippines.

LCDR Holt is remembered in Memorial Hall at the United States Naval Academy where is name is engraved under the “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP” flag honoring those alumni killed in action. LCDR Holt and his crew are remembered by USS Bullhead Memorial Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

view all

LCDR Edward Rowell Holt, Jr.'s Timeline

July 6, 1915
August 6, 1945
Age 30
At sea
SITE* Manila American Cemetery and Memorial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines