Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as PBY-5 Catalina bureau number 08283. Assigned to Patrol Squadron 34 (VP-34). Squadron number 66. No known nickname or nose art. Later, VP-34 was redesignated VPB-34.
During 1944, this Catalina operated in New Guinea.
On April 15, 1944 took off piloted by Lt(jg) William L. Garrett Jr. "Willie" on a mission to rescue any downed aviators of a Far East Air Force (FEAF) strike against Tadji and stood by at Seleo Island. By radio, this Catalina was notified by B-25 Mitchells from the 345th Bombardment Group about a life raft spotted off the north coast of New Guinea. Earlier that same day, an OA-10 Catalina piloted by Matson had attempted to perform a rescue but crashed on landed and exploded, killing the entire crew. This Catalina successfully landed in rough seas with roughly 12-15' swells. After rescuing 2nd Lt. James M. Horton and SSgt Alphonse S. Rylko the crew of A-20G Havoc 42-86723 that ditched on April 12, 1944. Prior to takeoff, the Catalina crew jettisoned as much weight as possible before successfully taking off and flying the rescued crew to Langemak Bay off Finschafen. Afterwards, Garrett earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his role performing this rescue.
Later, this Catalina operated from Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
On November 27, 1944 this Catalina was lost in Leyte Gulf.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Craig Henderson (nephew of Henderson)
Navy Serial Number Search Results - PBY-5 Catalina
"08283 (VP-33 [sic?]) lost in landing accident 4/25/1944 [sic, PBY-5A 46542 VP-34] to rescue B-24 crew and sank. All crew rescued by another PBY. I have this plane also as having been lost in a takeoff accident 11/15/1944 [sic, 27th] in the Philippines."
NARA VP-34 War Diary April 1945 page 2 of 5
"15 April  Lieut. (jg) Garrett, plane #66 (08283) stood by at Seleo Island for FAF strike at Tadji. Picked up crew of A-20 thirty-five miles east of Tadji which was forced to crash land at sea, due to damage sustained in strike at Tadji two days [sic, three] previously. U. S. Army OA-10 [Catalina piloted by Matson] which had previously attempted to land to pick up this crew crashed and was lost with all hands."
Escape and Evasion Report of 2nd Lt. James M. Horton, 386th Squadron April 18, 1944 via Edward Rogers
Jax Air News "43 Receive Medals in Largest NAS Award Ceremony" Vol. 3 no. 18 - 12 July 1945 pages 1-2
"...Highest award of the day was the Distinguished Flying Cross given to Lt. William L. Garrett Jr., USN, for landing in a rough sea off New Guinea and rescuing survivors of a plane crash. Lt. Garrett also received the Air Medal for a successful attack on an enemy convoy in the Bismarck Sea. He is now an instructor with VPB2-1."
Black Cat Raiders of WWII page 164
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List April 1944 does not list this aircraft
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List November 1944 - PBY Catalina 08283 November 27, 1944
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis.
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June 29, 2019