Seaman Second Class William Joseph White

World War II

US Navy
USS Preston (DD-379)
Service Number: 03724515
Born: about 1925
Missing in action, November 14, 1942
Status changed to presumed dead, November 16, 1943
Memorial Marker (Tablets of Missing) Manila American Cemetery, Philippines

Purple Heart

Son of Joseph H. White of Joes.

Memorial Tablet
Manila American Cemetery

William Joseph White
Photo by ABMC Staff

Yuma Pioneer December 10, 1942

Joes Boy Reported Missing in Action
William White, Young Naval Enlistee,
Unaccounted for in Attack on Convoy.

Mrs. Ruth E. Snyder, Correspondent

At last the war has come to our door. Saturday night, near 6 o'clock, a telegram came for Mr. and Mrs. Joe White announcing to them that their son, William, who was in the navy, was among the missing. The ship on which William sailed was a member of a convoy. The news was a terrible shock to all who knew and loved William. He was one of the youngest of the enlisted men from this region, and was only 17 years of age. These things are to be expected, but it is not easy to take when bad news comes.

There is always a chance that William may have been rescued and will yet be found to be alive, but in a convoy, he would no doubt have been reported on at once if such were the case.

Flags were hung at half staff for William in Joes Monday.

Yuma Pioneer December 16, 1943

Joes News

Last week brought bad news to the Joes region when Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. White received a letter from Secretary of the Navy Knox. It stated that all survivors of the good ship Preston, which was torpedoed three times one year ago and sank in the Coral Sea with the captain on board, had been checked and that no prisoners had been taken. Therefore they should consider their son, William, as dead. It seems the ship was on fire and sank quickly after being struck, and not many were saved.

Yuma Pioneer June 22, 1944

Joes News - by correspondent Ruth Snyder

On Monday, Joe White received from Washington, D.C. the medal of Purple Heart, for his son William, deceased. William, a seaman second class, was lost in action when the ship Preston went down in the battle of the Coral Sea. Medals are fine, but boys are finer, and relatives and friends feel deeply grieved when those must be sent as a final token for the family.

USS Preston


Sm2/c White's destroyer, USS Preston, was sunk the night of 14-15 November 1942 off Savo Island, in the Solomon's by the Japanese cruiser Nagara during the Battle for Guadalcanal. Besides Sm2/c William White 165 other crew members were also killed including the Preston's Captain.

Credits: William White photograph donated by Mrs. Janey Beckman.

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