April 12, 192–April 13, 1942
General Ralph Royce was a native of
Marquette, Michigan and is one of the members of the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. His
grandson, also Ralph Royce, is head of an aviation museum outside Houston and
used to be head of the Confederate Air Force (CAF Commemoraive Air Force).
of ten B-25Cs (one was stuck at Darwin and did not participate) and three B-17s. In mid April flown from Darwin to
a staging field of Del
Monte Airfield on Mindanao. For three days, the aircraft flew bombing strikes
against the Japanese in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. All of the aircraft
returned to Australia without the loss of one flyer, and they brought
out a number of important military and diplomatic personnel who had
gathered at DelMonte to await evacuation.
The group of planes was led by General Ralph Royce; hence the name "Royce
Mission." The Dolittle Raid of April 18, 1942 overshadowed this equally
important effort of the Royce Mission. Still, the Royce raid did make
the front page of the "New York Times" in mid-April.
Three Days of Bombing Missions
For three days, the aircraft flew bombing missions against Japanese
occupied targets in the Philippines. Aircraft known to have participated in the missions include:
STRIKE #1 SUNDAY, 12 APRIL 1942
Australia-based B-25's, staging through Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao,
bomb Cebu Harbor and shipping, while B-17's carry
out single-bomber strikes against
Cebu Harbor and Nichols Field on Luzon.
STRIKE #2 MONDAY, 13 APRIL 1942 (MORNING)
Taking off from Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao B-25's hit targets in the Philippines. The B-25's take off just after midnight April 12/13 and bomb shipping
in Cebu Harbor and installations at Davao on Mindanao.
After the mission, B-17E "San Antonio Rose II" 41-2447 was spotted in the open at Del Monte Airfield by a F1M2 Pete and hit by a 60kg bomb and destroyed.
STRIKE #3 MONDAY, 13 APRIL 1942 (AFTERNOON)
in the day the B-25's again bomb the dock area at Davao.
Afterwards, the bombers helped evacuated a number of important military and diplomatic personnel that gathered at Del Monte Airfield and flew back Darwin.
The Royce Mission was signifigant because no American aircraft or personnel were lost flying the combat missions. The only aircraft lost was B-17E "San Antonio Rose II" 41-2447 destroyed on the ground. The Royce Mission happened only days before the Doolittle Raid led by Col James "Jimmy"
Doolittle over targets in Japan on April 18, 1942.
Although overshadowed in the press, the Royce raid did make the front page of the New York
Times in the middle of April 1942.
Thanks to Gus Breymann (nephew of 2nd Lt. Gustave Heiss) and Edward Rogers for additional information
Are you a veteran or relative of a Royce Mission crew