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    Rossel Island (Yela) Miline Bay Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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RAN Sept 1914

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USN c1942

Rossel Island is located furthest to the east in the Louisiade Archipelago. Also known as "Yela Island".

Wartime History
Prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea, on March 12, 1942 five floatplanes and their crews from USS Louisville and USS Astoria landed off Rossel Island. The pilots were: Ens William J. McGovern, Lt. J. M. Brandt, Ens Layland M. Wilder, John H. Graves and Joseph B. Young. With radio operators: Operators: Miller, Clyde Henry Horn, Lucks, Hugard and Owen.

The US Navy asked the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to search for their missing planes. On March 18, 1942, after a week of searching, a PBY Catalina A24-2 piloted by Chapman located the five planes on the beach at Rossel Island and landed on the lagoon to asses them, near the Osborne family house, that was vacated since January 1942. The Navy men wanted to burn their aircraft and go to Tulagi because they had run out of cigarettes, but the RAAF convinced them to wait for repair party from Port Moresby which arrived aboard another PBY Catalina. The radio operators were transported to Gavutu on March 27, the floatplanes departed on March 28 to the USS Curtiss (AV-4). One hit the ship and was abandoned overboard.

Henry Sakaida adds:
"I turned up nothing for 28 March 1942. I checked OS2N and OS2U Kingfishers...nothing. USS Astoria lost four floatplanes (SON and SOC-3 Seagull) on August 9, 1942 at Savo Island, but no pilot casualties. There were Kingfisher losses on March 5, 11, 14 and 22nd...but none recorded for the 27, 29, etc. Nothing from the Astoria on these losses."

W. Ashley Horn (son of Clyde Henry Horn) adds:
"My sister and I were never able to get him to talk about this incident much but I did read about it in Stanley Johnson's book Queen of the Flatops. I also have a newspaper article with an interview of my father."

SBD-3 Dauntless Bureau Number 4531
Pilot Quigley ditched May 7, 1942

SS-144 (S-39) Submarine
Ran aground August 13-14 1942 abandoned

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Last Updated
July 30, 2020


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