Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 71441  
USN
USS Langley (CVL-27)
VF-44

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
IJN January 4, 1945

Click For Enlargement
USMC Sept 8, 1945

Click For Enlargement
USAAF Sept 1945

Pilot  Lt(jg) Charles Valentine August, 104075 (POW, survived) CA
Force Landed  January 4, 1945

Pilot History
August was a graduate of University of California. Enlisted in the US Navy,. During 1942, assigned to VF-4. During November 1942, August participated in "Operation Torch" the Allied invasion of North Africa. He was briefly taken prisoner by the Vichy French, then released. Afterwards, assigned to VF-44 as a F6F Hellcat pilot.

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F6F Hellcat bureau number 71441.

Wartime History
Assigned to the USS Langley (CVL-27). Assigned to squadron VF-44 with tail code "29". No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On January 4, 1945 took off from the USS Langley (CLV-27) at 7:15am on a mission led by Commander Malcome T. Wordell to escort six TBF Avengers attacking Kobi on Formosa. August was leading the second division of Hellcats tasked with strafing parked planes at Kobi Airfield from 3,500' down to 500-50' at glide angles of 20° to 35°.

This Hellcat was observed to pull back into the clouds from 2,500' before the second strafing run was initiated. August re-joined the formation for the third strafing attack. Afterwards, the formation joined up and attacked a radio tower roughly 10 miles to the southeast.

Around 10:20am, the division returned to Kobi Airfield to continue strafing. Over the target, this Hellcat suffered an engine failure and force landed near Kobi Airfield. When this aircraft failed to return, August was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fate of the Pilot
August survived the landing unhurt. Japanese forces near Kobi Airfield reported the crashed immediately. August was taken prisoner, blindfolded and bound. Later, he was transported to Japan and held as a Prisoner Of War (POW) at Omori POW camp, near Tokyo. During September 1945 August was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) Tokyo Bay Area 35-140 and returned home. He passed away in July 1985.

Wreckage
The wreckage of this largely intact Hellcat was recovered by personnel from Kobi Airfield and displayed at Kobi Shrine for a time.

Later, it was transported to Japan and operated from Yokosuka Airfield. A Japanese Hinomaru (rising sun) markings, over painting the American markings and applying tail number ヨ-801 (Yokosuka Kōkūtai). At the end of the war abandoned at Yokosuka Airfield on the belly, likely after making a force landing. The aircraft was partially stripped with the propeller, engine cowling removed, fabric surfaces missing and cockpit canopy removed.

During September 1945, the wreckage was found by U. S. forces without a propeller, engine cowling, fabric surfaces or cockpit canopy. After capture, the wreckage was moved and subject to further removal of parts. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
USN VF-44 mission record January 4, 1945 transcribed by Henry Sakaida
NARA "Records of World War II Prisoners of War" Charles V. August
Arawasi Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2007 "Hellcat in Hinomaru" by Marin Ferkl
Thanks to Minoru Kamada, Henry Sakaida and Osamu Tagaya for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
F6F

Photos
Photo Archive

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram