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  SBD-3 Dauntless Bureau Number 4531  
USS Lexington CV-2

Pilot  Lt(jg) Anthony J. "Tony" Quigley (survived)
 P.O. Wheelhouse (survived)

Ditched  May 7, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 4531. Assigned to the USS Lexington (CV-2) to squadron VS-2. No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On  May 7, 1942 took off from USS Lexington CV-2 on a bombing mission against the Shoho. Damaged after the attack, ditched in the lagoon at the western end on Rossel Island (Yela). The crew survived the crash.

Both crew members were assisted by natives, who took them to plantation house owned by Mr. Osborne. On May 26, 1942 both were rescued by MV Laurabada.

Lt Mac Rich (Australian Army, ANGAU) Lousiade Archipelago Patrol:
"May 26, 1942 Not a very pleasant night, hard boards and mosquitoes, so we were not sorry to got moving early in the morning. Reached Rambuso at, and rejoined the “Laurabada”. Left the small launch here to make the crossing to Rossel Island when the weather improved and got under weigh at 9.30am and as soon as we cleared the anchorage ran into a really big sea with a stiff S.E. for our crossing to AVALETTI (Osborne Bros plantation) on Rossell Island. After an uncomfortable trip passed through the passage in the off-shore reef and anchored off the plantation at Noticed a red S.O.S. painted in red on the roof of the plantation managers house as we came through the passage. Received an enthusiastic welcome from Lieutenant Quigley and Sgt. Wheahouse [sic P.O. Wheelhouse, ex- USA aircraft carrier “Lexington”. They informed us that their aircraft had been damaged during the bombing of a Japanese carrier [Shoho] in the Coral Sea battle on the 7th May they had been unable to get back to the “Lexington” and had been forced to make a crash landing in the lagoon at the western end of Rossell Island. The local natives had picked them up and taken them down to Mr. Osbornes plantation where the native staff had cared for them. Made inquiries amongst the local natives as to whether there were any other survivors, friend or foe on the island, with negative results. Remained in the calm anchored overnight, our American friends giving us a full account of the battle as far as they were concerned."

John Quigley (nephew) Lt(jg) Anthony J. "Tony" Quigley
"Lt.(jg) Tony Quigley is my uncle (my father's brother). There was some information in this article I did not know before. If anyone can offer advice on how I could research additional information on my uncle or his plane, I would appreciate it. Your page on Commander William Bowen Ault and his son’s e-mail address was listed at the bottom Tony flew in his air group, and Commander Ault was the person that told Tony to head for Rossel Island after his plane was hit. The next day Ault was killed. I forwarded his son’s e-mail to my cousin, Tony’s son. They had an exchange of e-mails."

Thanks to Jim Sawruk and John Douglas for additional information

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Last Updated
April 3, 2020

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