WWII USMC Marine Corps SBD Dauntless VMSB-231 Pilot and Dive Bomber on Majuro, Marshall Islands


An eBay seller recently posted an anomalous grouping of negatives online.  The photos were reportedly from the collection of a US ETO fighter pilot, but were clearly taken in a tropical location.  My BS radar went off, and I placed a single bid on one of the “better” images.  After the negative arrived (2.5 by 3.5 in original glassine envelope), I was able to extract a bit more info; although the man posed in the photo is still a mystery.  His name appears to be Jud – and I’ve narrowed down the unit info to place him as a pilot with the VMSB-231 station on Majuro in the Marshall Islands in 1944.  I’ve contacted the seller to track down more shots from this historic grouping.

The VMSB-231 stands for Marine Scout Bombing Squadron # 231.  They were known as the “Ace of Spades” and can sometimes be seen sporting spade insignia on their planes.  The unit was responsible for dive bombing Japanese shipping and freight.  The SBD was a radial engined dive-bomber that was extensively used in the early portion of the US involvement in the PTO.  Here’s a good site regarding the SBD: http://science.howstuffworks.com/douglas-sbd-dauntless.htm

 

 

Some technical data on the SBD:

Douglas SBD Dauntless Specifications

Wingspan: 41 ft. 6-1/2 in.

Length: 33 ft. 1-1/2 in.

Height: 13 ft. 7 in.

Empty Weight: 6,500 lbs

Gross Weight: 10,700 lbs

Top Speed: 252 mph

Service Ceiling: 26,100 ft.

Range: 1,100 miles

Engine/Horsepower: One Wright R-1820/1200

Crew: 2

Armament: Two .50-inch Browning machine guns in the nose; two .50-inch Browning machine guns flexibly mounted in the rear cockpit; 1,600 lbs of bombs under fuselage; 650 lbs under the wing

WWII German Snapshot Photo – RAF Gravestones in Germany 1939 – 1st Australian Soldier Killed in Action


Today’s post comes from a loyal PortraitsofWar follower from the Netherlands.  He recently stumbled across a single snapshot at a Dutch flea market and did some savvy investigative work to tease out the historical significance.  Thanks Werner!

Wartime German Snapshot of the Graves

Begraafplaats Engelse Vliegeniers

By: Werner Peters

Here we have a photo taken by a German soldier depicting the graves of three Allied airmen who lost their lives in the skies over Germany.  These soldiers were likely recovered from their crashed plane and buried with full military honors by their German adversaries.  A Nazi laurel wreath can be seen in the left corner of the photo.

At the time, two of the airmen could be positively identified by the Germans; one body was unidentifiable.  One the left side of the burial plot lies Mr.Hammond whose RAF identification number was 562535RAF.  On the right side of the grave lies J. MCI. Cameron, Offr res 24225RAF.  The middle marker merely says , Engl. Flieger(English Airman).  On all three grave posts is written “Hier ruht ein Engl. Flieger – im luftkampf gefallen 28.9.1939 Vorden” – which translates as “here rests an English airman who died in aerial combat on 28.9.1939 Vorden(?)”.

With a little research it turns out that this crew belonged to the 110th RAF squadron.  They were flying a Bristol Blenheim type IV, number N6212 which crashed on September 28th, 1939 during a recon mission over Munster in the neighborhood of Kiel, Germany.  They were shot down by a German pilot named Klaus Faber, a feldwebel of the Ersten Abiteilung.  Jagdgeschwader Eins (1st Section of the 1st Fighter Group).

It turns out that the man buried on the right is wing commander Ivan McLoed Cameron, an Australian who, in fact, is the first Australian to die in action during WWII. The man to the left is Thomas Cecil Hammond, an Irishman.  The last grave belongs to Thomas Fullerton.

For more information regarding the crash, please check out the following website: http://ww2chat.com/biographies/5839-raf-australians-wing-commander-ivan-mcleod-cameron.html

After researching the photograph, Werner visited the current grave site in Kleve, Germany where the three men were reburied after the war.  He snapped some great photos and generously allowed for them to be posted here at PortraitsofWar.

Thanks Werner!

Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Gates

The Three Graves

Cameron's Headstone

Fullerton

Hammond