31 JULY 1944
A message was received at 1000 to proceed to
Lake Rombebai, Dutch New Guinea and evacuate two wounded men from an outpost situated on the shore of the lake in enemy territory. The PBY, piloted by Captain Gerard F. Wientjes, proceeded to the area, circled the lake several times and finally located the men on a point of land on the North East side of the lake. They landed and taxied within 100 yards of the shore, launched the life raft and went ashore, finding a group of ten soldiers, seven of whom were injured, three seriously, and one wounded Jap prisoner. This party of ten men were attacked on the morning of 29 July 1944, by 50 Japanese soldiers, commanded by one officer. The enemy soldiers had proceeded by enemy boats from their camp approximately 40 miles distant, sneaked up on the guard, overpowering and seriously wounding him with knives. Then screaming "Banzai" attacked the sleeping men in their hammocks. The men were so taken by surprise that they were unable to find their weapons and fought the Japs with fists and clubs. During the battle, one American soldier slipped away to the beach about 300 yards distant and fired a signal flare, lighting up the area and temporarily disconcerting the Japs. The Americans and Aussies quickly regrouped themselves, seized their Tommy guns, killing the officer and two men and wounding one Jap, whom they made prisoner. The remaining Jap forces scattered, some hiding in the jungle and others in attempting to reach their canoes, by the light of the flares were shot down, 15 of the enemy being accounted for in this manner. During the remainder of the night, the defenders heard the Japs calling to one another, apparently trying to regroup themselves, but the three wounded men successfully held them off until the rescue ship arrived and all personnel were taken aboard.

The camp was in shambles. Three dead Japs were lying in the camp area, while others had been disposed of along the shore of the lake and in the edge of the jungle. Seven of the surviving party had been seriously wounded with knives, sabers and bayonets, none had been killed. The first aid man, also injured in the battle, had dressed the wounded and made them as comfortable as possible. When the rescue plane arrived, the Medical Officer aboard, went ashore, inspected the wounds, administered morphine and fluids and prepared the injured for evacuation. One by one the wounded were loaded into the life raft and taken aboard the rescue plane. The radios and personal equipment was either dumped into the lake or burned with the camp. When all were aboard, the plane was taxied into deep water where the seaweed, which had fouled the landing gear while taxiing inshore was removed. The third attempt at takeoff was successful, after considerable heavy equipment had been thrown overboard and 500 gallons of gasoline jettisoned into the lake.

During the process of making the ship ready for takeoff numerous Japs were observed along the shore but no shots were fired but either side, the distance from shore being approximately 1000 yards. The survivors were transported to Owi Island, where waiting ambulances transferred them to the 92nd General Hospital. The survivors stated "We prayed for daylight and a PBY and if heaven looks anything like a PBY we are going to change our ways."

See a
newspaper article about this rescue!

RESCUED MEN:  10 soldiers, 1 Jap prisoner

USAAF SERNO: 44-33875 ("Axle Ass Annie") (CV-325)**
CALLSIGN:  "Daylight ??" 
CREW: (Pilot) Captain Gerard F.Wientjes; (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. John S. Denison; (Navigator) 2nd Lt. Peter Y. Naylor; (Radio) Corporal Raymond B. Bean; (Radar) Sergeant George E. Bock; (Flight Surgeon) Major Donald W. Corlett

The narrative of these rescues was compiled and published in April 1946 from logbooks of pilots, notes, letters, and other
information by secretary Marina G. de Guzman in Pampanga, Philippines.

  * Aircraft produced at Canadian Vickers Ldt, Cartierville, Quebec, Canada
** Canadian Vickers contract number that was unique to each aircraft produced by at the Cartierville, Quebec plan


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JULY '45  - AUGUST '45 - SEPTEMBER '45


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