Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Hellcat carrier landing disaster

via Carlos on TOCH

"..I have been researching the death of my Uncle Ensign Roy Edward Jones USNR for about three years now. I first discovered he was on the Escort Carrier USS Windham Bay. Then when there was no mention of his death in the deck log of that aircraft, I researched more to find he had been transfered to the USS Admiralty Islands. The deck log of that ship states on April 18th, 1945 that at "1449 - F6F from USS Essex crashed into catwalk on port side after a wave-off and went over the side admidships. Plane guard reported no survivor. Pilot was Ensign Roy E. Jones 395853, A1, USNR" I am wondering if he was assigned to the Essex as a replacement pilot while the Essex was supporting the Okinawa Campaign, but find no mention of him on the USS Essex website as a Pilot. Or, might he have been returning a damaged aircraft to the Admiralty Islands for repair, and unable to successfully land the crippled aircraft? I hope that one of the Veterans that read this may have some additional information. Your assistance would mean the world to me. Thank you, Keith Anderson..."

"....Something to do with this photo...?"

Tail section of Ensign Jones's Hellcat. Crew watching the sinking plane, photo reproduced from  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...EssexPlane.jpg

18 April 1945. Replacement F-6F delivered to USS Admiralty Islands (CVE-99) but went overboard. Ensign Roy E. Jones, USNR, was KIA.

On 18 April 1945, Admiralty Islands suffered her first operational casualty near Okinawa. After sounding flight quarters at 1217, she began launching new replacement aircraft at 1352. The pilots delivered one F6F Hellcat, two TBM Avengers and two S2BC Helldivers to Essex. At 1406, Admiralty Islands began recovering the pilots and ten combat-fatigued Essex aircraft (commonly known as "Flyable Duds") for repair or disposal.
Ensign Roy Edward Jones, piloting Grumman Hellcat F6F-5 #71332, was the first to return for landing. He was not able to respond well to "low" and "opposite slant" flag signals, received a late "wave off" from the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) and applied full throttle for another go-around. The aircraft continued to settle and the tailhook caught the No. 5 arresting wire. The accelerating Hellcat impacted the ship's gun mount with terrific force, breaking in two. The forward part of the plane went over the port side with the trapped pilot. The tail of the aircraft remained hooked to the No. 5 wire, resting on the ship's catwalk. The LSO was forced to jump into the safety net, breaking his leg. Ensign Jones was lost at sea and his name is inscribed at the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, Hawaii

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