Lieutenant Commander Heywood "Tex" Edwards, captain of U. S. Destroyer No. 245, peered into the pre-dawn darkness of the North Atlantic. Somewhere in the rolling seas to the left, the youthful Annapolis graduate suspected, a German U -boat was radioing the location of the convoy to other submarines.
Two thousand yards to starboard, 44 merchant ships churned a straight course through the chilly October night at a plodding 8.8 knots. Designated Convoy HX-156, the vulnerable ships were riding low under the much needed war material they were carrying to the British Isles. Moments earlier, at 0525, one of the five escorting U. S. destroyers had monitored radio signals originating from an unidentified source near the convoy.