85 Men Lost

June 18, 1945

USS Bonefish (SS 223)
Stern view of the Bonefish (SS 223) showing her starboard torpedo tubes, on the building ways at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT, March 7, 1943.

  • Gato Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: June 25, 1942, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT
  • Launched: March 7, 1943
  • Commissioned: May 31, 1943
  • Displacement: 1,526 tons surfaced; 2,424 tons submerged
  • Length: 311′ 9″
  • Beam: 27′ 3″
  • Operating depth: 300′
  • Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns

Upon completion of refit on May 28, 1945 Bonefish got underway in company with Tunny (SS 282) and Skate (SS 305), as part of “Pierce’s Polecats”, commanded by Tunny’s skipper, Commander George E. Pierce. Equipped with a new mine-detecting device, the submarines were ordered to penetrate the Sea of Japan to sever the last of the Japanese overseas supply lines. Bonefish successfully threaded her way through the minefields by Tsushima Island as she transited the Korea Strait to enter the Sea of Japan for an offensive patrol off the west central coast of Honshū.

During a rendezvous with Tunny on June 16, Bonefish reported sinking Oshikayama Maru, a 6,892-ton cargo ship. In a second rendezvous on June 18, she requested and received permission to conduct a daylight submerged patrol of Toyama Wan, a bay farther up the Honshū coast. The attack group was to depart the Sea of Japan via La Perouse Strait on the night of June 24th. Bonefish did not make the scheduled pre-transit rendezvous. Still, Tunny waited in vain off Hokkaidō until the 27th. On July 30, Bonefish was presumed lost.

Japanese records reveal that the 5,488-ton cargo ship Konzan Maru was torpedoed and sunk in Toyama Wan on June 19 and that an ensuing severe counterattack by Japanese escorts brought debris and a major oil slick to the water’s surface. There can be little doubt that Bonefish was sunk in this action.

Bonefish (SS 223) earned Navy Unit Commendations for her first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth war patrols, and seven battle stars for her World War II service.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Bonefish (SS 223)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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6 Responses to “USS Bonefish (SS 223)”

  1. Vernon Rose Says:

    My father’s twin brother Russell A Rose was on the Bonefish during its last voyage. Dad told us about seeing his brother when it made port in California. Uncle Russ told Dad that he and his crewmates were sure they would not make it back as they felt the commander was bucking for promotion knowing the war was coming to an end and was taking as many chances as possible. Turned out they were right. May the Lord bless them all for giving their lives for our peace.

  2. Charles R. Hinman Says:

    Vernon, please see your uncle’s personal memorial page on our site at http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/rose-r-a.htm . We would be honored to place his photo on the page if you have one. Contact me at info@OnEternalPatrol.com


    Charles R. Hinman

  3. Rob Browning Says:

    Vernon, my dad says his brother on the Bonefish reported the same daring commander and predicted the skipper would get them all killed.
    My uncle James A. Browning went down with all hands aboard Bonefish.

  4. N. Wick Says:

    Please read Hellcats, a book by Peter Sasgen. Your opinion about Comander Lawrence Lege will change.

  5. N. Wick Says:

    Sorry, Comander Lawrence Lott Edge

  6. William Everett Says:

    To all my Uncle Vernon Miles was a plankholder on the USS Bonefish. My mother’s brother and only son of my grandparents. He remained a shadow in my life, but a representation of what the word sacrifice means. At twenty years of age, his eight combat patrols earned him a reputation in our family of a man to emulate. A myth in our family was that he had orders in hand to return to sub school to be an instructor, but with sea bag on the dock, he joined his comrades on her ninth and final mission. In my formal living room is a shadow box with his Combat Sub Badge, Dolphins, Purple Heart, Campaign medals and photo. When I pass, they will go to my daughter to be passed down to her sons. Les we forget those 84 men who “trailing skeins of air bubbles and oil, the gallant Bonefish and her gallant captain and crew dived into eternity”. Having heard the same stories concerning Commander Edge, and having commanded in my life, it is a thankless job and responsibilities – crushingly consuming. He had a responsibility to execute a dangerous mission while balancing the safety of his crew and ship. No one but God and Commander Edge knows what happened that fateful day in June 1945, but he alone bears the burden of command. His decisions cost him, his future and that of his crew. One cannot judge, until one wears the mantle of command. My heart goes out to the Edge family and every other family of crew. They died for us, and I will always honor their sacrifice. May God Bless and keep them all. Respectfully: COL(Ret) William R. Everett

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