Lieutenant Earle Wayne Freed Childs (1 August 1893 – 2 March 1918) was an officer in the United States Navy who died during World War I. A submariner, he died when the submarine he was on sank following a maritime collision.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Childs was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1915. He married Miss Gertrude Boucher on June 27, 1917, attending his wedding with his head bandaged from a car accident in that morning while driving in a storm. He had been cut by flying glass from the windshield.
Graduating from the Naval Academy as an ensign, Childs was assigned to the USS Culgoa, a refrigerated supply ship. His next assignment was to the USS Celtic another refrigerated supply ship. In June 1916 he was assigned to the battleship USS Montana.
Promoted to lieutenant, he served in World War I in the submarine L-2. However, while serving as an observer on the British submarine HMS H5, Childs was killed on March 2, 1918 when the H5 was mistaken for a German U-boat by a British merchant ship off the coast of Wales. The SS Rutherglen deliberately rammed the H 5, sending the submarine to the bottom with the loss of her entire crew.
The destroyer USS Childs was named for him.
- "Ensign Earle W. Childs, of U. S. S. Celtic, Visited Friends Saturday". Harrisburg Daily Independent. Mifflintown. 6 April 1916. p. 10. Retrieved 19 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Lewistown Officer Lost Life on British Submarine". Harrisburg Telegraph. Lewistown, Pennsylvania. 18 March 1918. p. 10. Retrieved 19 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.