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Dr_Fester

Capturing the moment

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Hi,

Whilst trawling the net for reference photos for my Wildcat I came across an amazing photo taken aboard the USS Enterprise in 1943. It captures the moment of a crash landing by an F6F Hellcat and really took my interest so I did a little research.

fighter-f6f-crash.jpg

I asked myself what caused the accident? Who was the brave bloke climbing on the flaming aircraft? And did the pilot get out? It's obviously a famous photo (rightly so) but it was the first time I had come across it.

It transpires the Hellcat failed to clear the deck after being waved off, the heroic guy climbing up to get the pilot out was catapult officer Lieutenant Walter Chewning and the pilot Ensign Byron M. Johnson escaped without significant injury.

No mention of who the equally brave cameraman was who stood his ground and recorded this image, any ideas?

Cheers

Doc

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catapult officer Lieutenant Walter Chewning

This guy must have had balls of steal! Climbing INTO a burning aircraft, using the droptank as a foot hold!!

He must have got a huge gong (medal) for that!

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Have to wonder about the deckcrews too.

One of my uncles was on the Indefetagible. Remember him telling me one incident when a Seafire missed the arrestor wire and ploughed into the Seafire which landed before it killing both pilots and 4 deckcrew.

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That is a famous photo. One that I have up on my wall at work.

While en-route to attack Makin Island in November, 1943, this Enterprise F6F Hellcat crash landed on the flight deck. Walter Chewning, the catapult officer, is seen clambering up the side of the plane to assist the pilot, Byron Johnson, from the flaming cockpit. Both escaped serious injury.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends...Walter Chewning was close!

Amazing picture, amazing men.

Bob

Edited by Bobs_Buckles

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It is so foriegn to me (thank god) this sort of situation let alone courage. Yet it makes me wonder how many other sepremely brave and couragous acts went on and even goes on in a war zone, that doesnt get caught on camera.

I have just noticed as well, there would be quite a bit of ammo for those anti aircraft cannons very near that fire.

Edited by palacefan

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Truly captures the moment of the War and its Heroes.....This is an amazing photograph and the cameraman must be one Brave guy standing there taking this all in....Thank you for posting the wonderful piece of Historical news....

Houston.... :speak_cool:

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That pic reminds me of the shot you see whenever they show a carrier in WWII, its the one where the Hellcat hits the deck hot and crashes into the island and breaks in two pieces, with the pilot sitting and looks as if to say "I made it"

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I think I have actually found a video of this crash, about halfway though which shows exactly what happened with the landing.

Let me know if you thinks its the same one.

Cheers

Doc

Edited by Dr_Fester

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That is the one!

Well done.

Can anyone find the clip of the Japanese ammunition ship that was blown to pieces (atomized) when it was attacked my F6F's or it may of been corsairs. The shock wave afterwards was frightening.

Cheers.

Bob

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Even more amazing was that over 300 actually survived!!

Watching this, I doubt anyone would have thought thered be survivors. I believe the film was taken from the Barhams own spotter plane?

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Even more amazing was that over 300 actually survived!!

Watching this, I doubt anyone would have thought thered be survivors. I believe the film was taken from the Barhams own spotter plane?

Must have been an awful scene for them to watch... not knowing who, if any of their friends & shipmates would survive... very sad :(

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Can anyone find the clip of the Japanese ammunition ship that was blown to pieces (atomized) when it was attacked my F6F's or it may of been corsairs. The shock wave afterwards was frightening.

Bob,

Could it be the 4th ship which is attacked in this video, a massive shock wave certainly :-

Doc

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Pete, I have a sequence of photos of your original incident from a 1950s book that belonged to my Uncle Keith when he was a kid - I can post them up if you want?

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