|Pilot Ensign Kenneth Ashton Flinn, 291306 USNR (POW, died) Berkley, CA
Ditched October 13, 1944 at 4:00pm
Built by Grumman. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F6F-3 Hellcat bureau number 41715.
Assigned to USS Essex (CV-9) to squadron VF-15. No known nose art or nickname.
On October 13, 1944 took off from USS Essex (CV-9) roughly 60 miles east of Formosa on a fighter sweep over Miyako Shima (Miyakojima) in the Nansei Shoto Group. Over the target, this aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and ditched near shore in shallow water that left the plane partially above water.
Fate of the Pilot
Fellow pilot Lt. B. D. Morris observed Flinn standing on the wing and waved, but rescue aircraft were not available to rescue him. Captured by the
Japanese, Flinn became a Prisoner Of War (POW). He was transported to Ofuna Camp near Yokosuka. He died of illness on July 24, 1945.
Aside from being spotted on the wing after ditching, no search or rescue mission was attempted.
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1944 - incorrectly notes pilot at F. A. Funn and saved and loss location as Pescadores.
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Kenneth Ashton Flinn died July 23, 1945
US Navy Cruise Book USS Essex CV-9 - October 13, 1944 page 100
USS Essex CV-9 Action Report The Battle of Formosa 12, 13 and 14 October 1944 page 1
Thanks to Minoru Kamada, Katherine Rasdorf, CeCe Moore and Mike Wenger for additional information
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February 4, 2018