|Birth: ||Sep. 9, 1897|
|Death: ||Aug. 9, 1942, At Sea|
Edmund "Ned" Billings was born in Boston, MA, in 1897. He attended Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University, interrupting his studies during World War I to serve as an Army private in the Chemical Warfare Service. After graduating from Harvard, he was a research chemist in Hastings, New York for 2 years before accepting an executive position with Cabot Incorporated in Boston. Ed was later promoted to Vice President and Director and was responsible for a number of significant developments in Cabot's carbon black business.
He married Elise Garceau on October 16, 1920. They had four children; Elisabeth (1921), Edmund III (1922), Curtis (1924) and Robert (1932).
With war clouds on the horizon, he volunteered to accept a direct commission as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve in November 1939 and was called to active duty in December 1940. Ed reported aboard the USS Quincy (CA 39) in January 1942 and later became the communications officer.
The Quincy participated in patrol and convoy escort duties, returning to the US for an overhaul before transferring to the Pacific Fleet in June, 1942. She joined the Solomon Islands invasion force in New Zealand, and provided fire support for the August 7th landings on Guadalcanal.
Shortly before midnight on August 8th, Lt. Commander Billings took his turn on watch, ever-present pipe in hand.
At 0144 AM, lookouts reported gunfire in the distance.
At 0150, Quincy was suddenly illuminated by the searchlights of the Japanese Navy. As shells began to strike around her, the crew called to general quarters. Caught between two lines of Japanese warships, with her steering and turrets badly mangled, Quincy steamed full ahead, returning fire.
At 2 AM, the bridge and pilot house are raked by shells, setting the superstructure on fire. Many officers are killed - but not Lt. Commander Billings.
Billings was last seen by one of his sailors, who remembered seeing him stagger from the blazing pilot house. Half of his face was gone.
"Everything will be fine," he muttered, "the ship will go down fighting."
He then collapsed to the deck.
Quincy capsized and sank at 0235, taking 370 brave sailors with her. Among them was 45 year old Lieutenant Commander Billings.
His remains were never recovered. Ned Billings is commemorated at the Manila American Cemetery, in Fort Bonifacio, Philippines.
Robert Billings (1932 - 2007)*
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot: Tablets of the Missing
Created by: Geoffrey Roecker
Record added: May 19, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26945278
Added: Jul. 5, 2016
NARA records list his Next of Kin's Home of Record as Concord, Massachusetts...Your service and sacrifice must never be forgotten.|
Added: May. 13, 2016
Added: Apr. 3, 2015
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