Guy Wilkinson Stuart Castle MOH

b. 08/02/1879 Portage, Wisconsin. d. 10/08/1919 off the coast of Brest, France. 

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/04/1914 Veracruz, Mexico.

Guy W S Castle MOH

Guy Wilkinson Stuart Castle was born in Portage, Wisconsin, on 8 February 1879 or 8 February 1880. He was appointed a naval cadet at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on 20 May 1897. While at the Naval Academy, Castle was nicknamed “Hoot,” “Pub,” or “Jim,” and came to be nicknamed “the Great Stone Face.” He graduated from the Naval Academy on 7 June 1901.

Castle reported to the receiving ship USS Independence (1814) on 29 June 1901. Detached on 31 July 1901 to proceed to the Asiatic Station on board a United States Army Transport, he departed on 1 August 1901. Ultimately, he reported to armored cruiser USS Brooklyn (ACR-3) on 6 September 1901, but served in her only for a little over a month, being detached to battleship USS Kentucky (BB-6) on 11 October 1901.

His title changed from naval cadet to midshipman on 1 July 1902, Castle was ordered detached from Kentucky on 21 July 1902 to the gunboat USS Monocacy (1864), then to the gunboat USS Vicksburg (PG-11), reporting to Vicksburg on 30 July 1902 at Chefoo, China. Over the ensuing months, Vicksburg “showed the flag” and conducted training, steaming from Chinese to Korean, Japanese, and Philippine ports. Tensions between Japan and Russia occasioned Vicksburg’s being dispatched to Chemulpo, Korea, where she arrived on 30 December 1903 to protect American interests there.

Detached to command submarine USS Plunger (SS-2) (“a cross between a Jules Verne fantasy and a humpbacked whale [sic],” as one junior contemporary, Ensign Chester W. Nimitz, later described early submarines) on 22 February 1907, reporting for that duty on 23 February 1907 and assuming command upon her recommissioning at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. He received additional duty as commanding officer of USS Shark (SS-8) on 23 August 1907. Detached from Plunger to “continue other duties” (perhaps to devise means related to the envisioned transfer of “submarine torpedo boats” to the Asiatic Station as deck cargo on board colliers) on 24 December 1907, he then received orders to temporary duty at the Bureau of Navigation, reporting there on 25 April 1908, upon completion of which he was to travel to Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, California, where he would have duty in connection with submarine USS Pike (SS-6). He reported on 13 May 1908, only to be detached on 1 July 1908 to travel to the Asiatic Station for duty with a draft of men, taking passage on 6 July 1908. He reported for duty on 4 August 1908 in connection with fitting out submarines USS Porpoise (SS-7) and Shark, both of which had been transported to Cavite Navy Yard on Luzon in the Philippine Islands as deck cargo on board the collier USS Caesar (AC-16).

Relieved on 9 July 1909 with new orders, Castle returned to the United States on 20 August 1909, reporting to battleship USS Ohio (BB-12) on 12 October 1909 to serve as her senior engineer officer. When Ohio was decommissioned a little over two months later, Castle received orders on 23 December 1909 to report without delay to battleship USS New Jersey (BB-16) for duty as her senior engineer officer, going on board New Jersey on 26 December 1909. He remained on New Jersey until detached on 6 August 1910.

Detached from the Naval Academy on 7 June 1913, he arrived on board battleship USS Utah (BB-31) on 11 June 1913 to take up his duties as her ordnance officer.

On 4 August 1919, Martha Washington departed New York City bound for Brest, France, on the first leg of a voyage that was ultimately to take her to Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire. On the evening of 10 August 1919, when Castle did not arrive at the scheduled time for dinner, his orderly and cabin steward found the door to the bathroom in his cabin locked. When repeated calls and knocking failed to arouse a response from within his cabin, the orderly and cabin steward summoned the ship’s senior surgeon and a captain’s mate, who forced the door. They found Castle dead on the floor of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had placed his wife’s photograph inside his shirt over his heart and a picture of his two sons on the shelf in the bathroom opposite the mirror.



For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and April 22, 1914. Eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion, Lt. Castle was in the fighting of both days, and exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through action. In seizing the customhouse, he encountered for many hours the heaviest and most pernicious concealed fire of the entire day, but his courage and coolness under trying conditions were marked.