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USS Northampton (CA-26)
|Pilot Lt. Bruce Godfrey Brackett, 82939 USNR (KIA) WA
Crashed January 14, 1943
Built by Curtiss-Wright Corporation as Model 71 Seagull. Constructors Number 11981. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SOC-1 Seagull bureau number 9911. No known nickname, nose art or markings.
Assigned to Cruiser Scouting Squadron 64 (VCS-64) aboard USS Northampton (CA-26) until December 1, 1942 when the cruiser was sunk after the Battle of Tassafaronga. Afterwards, this Seagull survived and was likely operating from Tulagi Seaplane Base off Gavutu Island and Tanambogo Island.
On January 14, 1943 at night took off piloted by Lt. Bruce G. Brackett on a mission and crashed into a mountain on Savo Island.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of pilot Brackett were recovered and buried by locals on Savo Island. Later, a photograph was taken of his grave with a white cross surrounded by a fence made of sticks and a palm frond atop and released with the via the International News Photos and with the caption: "Grave of Lieutenant Bruce G. Brackett, USNR, on Savo Island. Brackett was killed January 14, 1943 when the airplane he piloted crashed on Savo Island, near Guadalcanal. Friendly natives gave him Christian burial in a grove of tall palm trees, with sound of the rolling surf... the natives marked his grave with a clean white cross, and enclosed it with a bamboo fence." Postwar, his remains were recovered and transported to Hawaii for permanent burial.
Brackett is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), Plot C Row 0 Grave 984.
US Navy and US Marine Corps BuNos - SOC-1 9911
"9911 VCS-64 attached to USS Northampton lost in Thannembogo [sic Tanambogo Island] Jan 14, 1943"
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List January 1943 - SOC-1 9911
FindAGrave - Lt Bruce Godfrey Brackett (photo, grave photo)
Thanks to Terrence Popravak, Peter Flahavin and Ted Darcy for additional information
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March 3, 2021
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