PILOT OFFICER RON JAMES
RAAF PILOT ATTACHED TO THE 13TH BOMB SQUADRON
OF THE 3RD BOMB GROUP, USAAF

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visits since 5 October 2000

 

Subject:    13th Bomb Squadron New Guinea
Date:             Mon, 2 Oct 2000 11:25:09 +0930
From:            "Steve & Lib" <steve_lib@picknowl.com.au>

G'day Peter

My name is Steven Hall and I have been referred on to you by Jack Heyn. My father-in-law was a RAAF pilot with the American 13th Bomb SQN (3rd Bomb Group) at Charters Towers and then at Laloki in New Guinea. After many 'BBQ and red wine evening discussions' I started to do some research on the WEB to try and locate some information on his old SQN mates. In the process I stumbled across Jack Heyn on your website and have been corresponding with him for about a week now, anyway after talking with him we decided you may be interested in some of the history as supplied by Ron James who lives in South Australia. The following is a copy of the main email that I sent to Jack hope it is of interest....

Dear Sirs,

Hello once again. I have spoken to Ron in more depth and he has supplied some more information on his crew and also some photo's we thought you might be interested in looking at. The following is an exact copy of a handwritten note he supplied to me - it's addressed to you Jack but is equally applicable to the others...

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Warm Greetings Jack,

Please pass on my Best Wishes to Col. Richard Walker and my congratulations on his appointment as Sqn Commander. When I was about to go on leave he gave me an Australian one pound note and asked me to collect some photographs from a chemist in Brisbane. Sadly I never got to Brisbane and never got back to 13 Squadron, so tell him I have suffered a deep sense of guilt for 57 years.

Battle of the Bismarck Sea - Six of us took off 1-30PM 3 March 1943 - Formed up over Cape Ward Hunt. "Grim Reaper" Capt. Angel returned to base (U/S). Remaining 5 aircraft attacked and sunk Heavy Destroyer "Asashio" 4 direct hits 6 near misses. Besides 353 crew and Army personnel already on board, Asashio had been picking up survivors out of sea for 14 hours. It's speed estimated at 30kts at time of attack and circling. Great effort by the boys of 13SQN.

SX17322 P/Officer (Pilot) Ronald James.
Posted to No13 Bomb SQN Xmas 1942
Based at Charters Towers QLD

SQN moved to Laloki Strip 14 miles east of Port Morseby and our operations included strikes on Lae, Salamoa, Dumpu, Gasmata.

Joseph R. McWhirt was my Captain and besides myself as Second Pilot the other members of the crew were:-

0662281 Lt C.N. Liles - Bomb Aimer
11011598 SGT P.R. Villany - Gunner
6892942 S/SGT J.P. Gaydos - Gunner

On 12 April 1943 SQN area bombed and nearly all aircraft (B25's) destroyed - All R.A.A.F. personnel withdrawn from American SQN's. 13SQN re-equipped with Boston A20's. I was on leave in Australia at the time.

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Attached Photograph index (taken from sometimes illegible markings on rear of photo)

photo1 - Mac and Mr 'ERAFU'
photo2 - Remember this?
photo3 - Rear view of P38
photo4 - "Rabaul" & "Gasmata" Squadron mascots
photo5 - "Fair Dinkum" in all her glory before the Japs struck. 1943.
photo6 - No13 Bomb Squadron at Charters Towers 1942 (Art Small front row, right side)
photo7 - No description given.
photo8 - Over Tarakan 1945
photo9 - "Fair Dinkum" after Jap raid 12 April 1943
photo10 - Removing shrapnel from Hoot Mon - after raid 12 April 1943
photo11 - Ken Cuthbertson & Myself (Ron James)
photo12 - 13 Squadron insignia "The Grim Reaper"
photo13 - RAAF Short Empire Port Moresby
photo14 - "Nip Clipper" 13 Squadron USAAF
photo15 - Sgt Neville McNamara To become Air Chief Marshall RAAF
photo16 - Laloki 20 March 1943 The Local Yokels. Ron, Scotty, Syd. This is Ron's kite.

photo17 - As Mac said - "3 of a kind" "Ground Hog" another 13SQN plane

We also have a copy of the actual post mission combat report (from Battle of Bismarck Sea) as supplied to V Bomber Command by 13SQN Intelligence Officer Jerome B. Wiss.

For Walter Campbell, Ron has told me he would be interested in receiving a newsletter and any other information you may have regarding the Association (as discussed in your previous email). If there is a fee involved for postage etc please do not hesitate to email me back and I will sort something out (Bad luck Dick - but I don't think Ron still has that one pound note!). Hope all this is of interest to you.

Contact Ron James via Steve Hall <littlelib@esc.net.au>

Best Wishes to all
Steve

 

rj01.jpg (111816 bytes) Mac and Mr 'ERAFU
rj02.jpg (78069 bytes) Remember this?
rj03.jpg (82505 bytes) Rear view of P38
rj04.jpg (118703 bytes) "Rabaul" & "Gasmata" Squadron mascots
rj05.jpg (116770 bytes) "Fair Dinkum" in all her glory before the Japs struck. 1943.
rj06.jpg (117686 bytes) No13 Bomb Squadron at Charters Towers 1942 (Art Small front row, right side)
rj07.jpg (119532 bytes) No description given.
rj08.jpg (67041 bytes) Over Tarakan 1945
rj09.jpg (130416 bytes) "Fair Dinkum" after Jap raid 12 April 1943
rj10.jpg (129368 bytes) Removing shrapnel from Hoot Mon - after raid 12 April 1943
rj11.jpg (91983 bytes) Ken Cuthbertson & Myself (Ron James)
rj12.jpg (88135 bytes) 13 Squadron insignia "The Grim Reaper"
rj13.jpg (68366 bytes) RAAF Short Empire Port Moresby
rj14.jpg (111180 bytes) "Nip Clipper" 13 Squadron USAAF
rj15.jpg (72882 bytes) Sgt Neville McNamara To become Air Chief Marshall RAAF
rj16.jpg (97036 bytes) Laloki 20 March 1943 The Local Yokels. Ron, Scotty, Syd. This is Ron's kite.
rj17.jpg (122462 bytes) As Mac said - "3 of a kind" "Ground Hog" another 13SQN plane

 


 

Subject:     13th Bomb Squadron New Guinea
Date:              Tue, 3 Oct 2000 20:49:05 +0930
From:             "Steve & Lib" <steve_lib@picknowl.com.au>

G'day Peter

Yes, Jack is a great bloke alright - very helpful and always willing to drop a line and have a chat. I've read through all his emails on your site and have also passed them onto Ron who was very interested in them also.

Congratulations on your site by the way - it has been the major source of information for me in researching Ron's old SQN.

Finally, yes of course feel free to use any of the photos on your site, it may aid in contacting some of these guys from Ron's SQN.

Cheers
Steve

p.s. I think Jack mentioned you have a full time job and maintain the site in your spare time as a hobby (for want of a better word). Do you attend to it on a daily basis and how many hours would you contribute to it a week do you think? I've been dabbling in computers and the net for a while and am interested in web page design.

 


 

Subject:   Gidday
Date:           Fri, 6 Oct 2000 22:57:43 +0930
From:          "Steve & Lib" <steve_lib@picknowl.com.au>

G'day Peter,

Well you blew my socks off with this Peter - thank you very much. Ronnie will be thrilled I'm sure - I'll have to get him over this weekend and show him what you've done. Anyway must be off now - got to get some shut eye - big weekend in the back yard planned - you know how it is.

Cheers Steve

 

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