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  King John
US Army
Small Ships Section

? Tons
70' x ? x ?

Ship History
King John was a 70' wooden trawler operating in New Guinea.

Wartime History
This vessel was assigned to the U.S. Army Services of Supply, Small Ships Section. Used to transport soldiers and supplies along the north coast of New Guinea, in support of the Battle of Buna.

Sinking History
On October 18, 1942 one of two luggers that departed Wanigela during the morning bound for Pongani. Aboard were 102 soldiers from the 32nd Infantry Division, 128th Infantry Regiment plus passengers including war correspondent Byron "Barney" Darnton and Lt. Adam Bruce Fahnestock.

While off the north coast of New Guinea near Pongani this vessel was mistaken for an enemy ship bombed and strafed by a friendly B-25 Mitchell from the 3rd Bombardment Group. During the attack, Darton was fatally wounded by shrapnel in his head and died in a boat on the way to shore. Also, Lt. Adam Bruce Fahnestock, head of the Small Ships Section was hit in the spine, died when he reached the shore. Several others were wounded.

Afterwards, the bodies of Darton and Fahnestock were transported to Waingela and flown from Waingela Airfield to Port Moresby for burial.

References
Small Ships Section, Southwest Pacific Area of World War II PDF File
Almost A Family details this loss

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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