The type of aircraft mentioned in the 22nd February 1944 incident was an SBD, of VMSB-244 as stated. The version of this incident I have a copy of reads as follows:
22nd February 1944. While orbiting his standby position, Flying Officer G C Hitchcock received a message from an SBD pilot to the effect that he had only sufficient gasoline for 5 minutes. Dumbo proceeded to the position given and located two survivors on a raft in position (as stated above), being circled by numerous SBD's and fighters. The Catalina landed (sic) and rescued the two survivors (as stated above, although in this instance the Cpl named as Petten), both of USMC, VMSB-244 based at Torokina. Both survivors were uninjured.
As can be deduced, this is undoubtedly from an official United States Navy source, almost certainly from records compiled aboard COOS BAY, being the HQ under which 6 (NZ) Squadron was operating.
Post by aircraftclocks on May 9, 2021 17:31:33 GMT 12
From the VPB54 war diary:
1 October, 1944 - 31 October, 1944, Inclusive.
1. During the period covered by this diary Patrol Bombing Squadron FIFTY-FOUR was based at Luganville Airfield, Espiritu Santo, at Emirau Island and at Peleliu Island. The squadron was under administrative control of Commander, Group ONE, Float Air Wing TWO. The detachment based at Espiritu Santo operated under the direction of CTU 11.3.1 and the balance of the squadron operated at Emirau and Peleliu under CTG 59.6.
2. At Espiritu Santo three crews, augmented by two crews from RNZAF Squadron Number Six, carried out anti-submarine ship-coverage patrols, dumbo searches for missing aircraft, and maintained dumbo and JASA standby.
3. Fifteen crews, based at Emirau and Peleliu flew "Dumbo Escort" for marine fighter and torpedo planes in transit between Emirau, Manus, Hollandia, Owi, Peleliu and Ulithi. The squadron provided "Dumbo Escort" for fighter and torpedo planes attacking Babelthuap Island north of Peleliu; evacuated wounded from Peleliu to Manus; carried provisions from Manus and Owi to Peleliu; and carried out bombing missions against Japanese positions in the Palau Islands.
4. Ootober 11, 1944, Warrant Officer Ian Ronald Donaldson of RNZAF Squadron No. Six, on temporary duty with Patrol Bombing Squadron FIFTY-FOUR at Espiritu Santo, landed in the open sea in a New Zealand PBY-5 to rescue the crew of a J2F. The landing was effected in 15-18 foot swells running from the Southeast and with an 18-20 knot wind from East-North East. In attempting to take off the plane water looped damaging the port wing tip. No personnel were injured in the accident. The crew of the PBY-5 and of the J2F were rescued by PC 1587 and a crash boat. The PC attempted to tow the seacat to port, but the plane turned over and sank during the night.
5. October 23, 1944, The Commanding Officer and Lieut.(jg) John A. Love, USNR, made rendezvous at sea, 180 miles from Peleliu, with DE 201. The plane was landed in the open sea to remove a wounded seaman from the DE and fly him to Peleliu for medical treatment. The landing and take-off were successfully accomplished in 10-12 foot swells.
6. October 28. 1944, Lieut.(jg) Peter Maravich, USNR, took off at 1735 Love to search for the survivors of a New Zealand PV-1 which crashed at sea between Espiritu Santo and Efate. Lieut.(jg) Maravich located a life raft after dark and directed a nearby cargo ship, the USS Jaguar, 1X120, to the scene. The pilot circled the raft for 45 minutes dropping flares and floatlights until the ship was able to effect the rescue of the three survivors in the raft. A few minutes later Lieut.(jg) Maravich located a second raft containing one survivor approximately five miles away. Having exhausted his supply of flares and floatlights. The pilot maintained sight contact with the raft by flying at 400 feet in small circles above the raft while HUMBARGER, J.B., ARM2c., directed an aldis lamp at the raft from the port blister of the plane until the Jaguar reached the scene and picked up the remaining survivor. A four plane search was maintained during the next two days but no additional survivors were found.
Post by aircraftclocks on May 9, 2021 18:37:29 GMT 12
From the VPB54 war diary:
8 September, 1944: Patrol Squadron FIFTY-FOUR became part of Group ONE, Fleet Air Wing TWO which was commanded by the squadron commanding officer.
13 September, 1944: Thirteen planes and fifteen crews were attached to CTG 59.6 for temporary duty involving Dumbo Escort of Marine Squadron from Emirau to Peleliu. The crews remaining in the New Hebrides were augmented by two crews from RNZAF No. SIX.
24 September, 1944: The first Patrol Bombing Squadron FIFTY-FOUR planes landed at Peleliu on D-day plus nine.
1 October, 1944: Squadron designation was changed from Patrol Squadron to Patrol Bombing Squadron.
4 November, 1944: Six planes and crews were assigned to CTG 57.14 for duty at Peleliu Island, Palau. The remaining seven planes on duty with 59.6 returned to Espiritu Santo.
10 November, 1944: The squadron was relieved at Espiritu Santo by RNZAF Squadron number FIVE.
Post by Peter Lewis on May 10, 2021 11:03:37 GMT 12
"October 11, 1944, Warrant Officer Ian Ronald Donaldson of RNZAF Squadron No. Six, on temporary duty with Patrol Bombing Squadron FIFTY-FOUR at Espiritu Santo, landed in the open sea in a New Zealand PBY-5"
Retirement is something for the young. Once you are old you never seem to have the time.
And the lost NZ PV-1 (Ventura) was NZ4624 (one of Flight of six PV-1's of No. 2 Squadron, en route New Zealand to Espiritu Santo, via Norfolk Island), Pilot Officer A C Hawkins and crew of four, plus four passengers from No. 14 SU were aboard; both air gunners plus two members of the SU were lost. See Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow, Vol. 2", page 289. Loss seemingly due to fuel system problems, as both engines failed at different times. David D
Post by aircraftclocks on Jul 1, 2021 0:37:39 GMT 12
Started looking at some of the records to see if the information is correct, given the rescue count has not proven to be 100%. The first entry looks problematic, it says it occurred on 2.5.43.
All the records I can locate advise that the liberty ship USS William K Vanderbilt was sunk on the 17/05/43 at location 18.41S 175.07E due to being torpedoed. The USS Dash picked up 56 survivors. At 1600hrs, contact was made with RNZAF Catalina from Lathala Bay, observing survivors in the ship sinking area. Search aircraft sighted 2 lifeboats, 1 raft and oil slick in the vicinity. One man is known to have been lost, the first assistant engineer.
Can anyone give any supporting information for the event occurring on 2/5/43?
For the apparently inexplicable failure to add the man mentioned as "rescued" by 6 Squadron PBY-5 on 5th October 1944, the simple answer was that the man in question (NZ4213642 Pilot Officer Thomas Helier VAUTIER, Navigator, aged 23), was dead (died in the crash of PV-1 NZ4561 that day). I guess the rationale was that, in truth, be could NOT be counted among those "saved", but at least his family knew where he was buried. See Errol Martyn's For Your Tomorrow, Vol 2, pg 282. David D