The Last Japanese Kamekaze shot down in WWII:
The "Saving" of an Aussie Destroyer
A request had been made to me, for information about air activity that involved fighter planes from
the USS Hancock shooting down a Kamikaze which involved an Aussie ship. The following applies.
A British task force known as TG-37 joined Admiral John S. McCain's* Task force 38 on 16 July 1945. This British force included four carriers, one battle ship, three
light cruisers, two Anti-Aircraft (AA) cruisers and 18 destroyers.
At least one of the Destroyers (DD) was an Aussie. The Flag of the British Admiral was on one of
the carriers. The British task group operated on a line of bearing with the three task groups of Task Force 38.
Some of the action the British got in on is related in my book POINT OPTION, pages 219 - 240.
On the last day of fighting, 15 Aug 1945, Marty Lloyd's four plane division of F4U-4 Corsairs intercepted a would-be Kamikaze while it was making an attack on
the British task group. I do not have the details about his approach but I understand that he was lined up with
his objective (what ever it was) when Ens. Farnsworth, one of the F4U-4 pilots shot it down. The wreckage landed
just short of the Aussie DD. So they were bound to believe that that act saved their ship; and the British Admiral
was also bound to believe that that action saved his Flag Ship, (one of the carriers).
Shortly after Marty and his division of Corsairs were back aboard and story was out, the British
Admiral sent his complements to Adm. McCain and the Hancock with their thanks and later an invitation to the pilot
who did the shooting to be his guest on his flag ship so that they could thank him personally.
The next day after the war ended on the 15th, A British DD (I do not know if it was the Aussie DD
or not) sprinted smartly into our task group and "zapped" up against the port quarter of the Hancock,
and made ready to receive their honored guest.
Ens. Farnsworth was a tall, lean, good looking guy from Caldwell, New Jersey. He had been an engineering
student at Penn State just before joining the Navy. He was all decked out in a fresh set of aviation greens and
departed on what was to be the first post war diplomatic mission between the U.S. and the British.
The ship's band played "God Save The King" and then the "Star Spangled Banner"
and other appropriate numbers which seemed to underline the atmosphere of levity and merriment surrounding this
diplomatic affair and the end of the war.
Three or four days later, the same DD brought Ens. Farnsworth back and in so many words "poured"
him back on the hanger deck of the Hancock. It was not surprising to learn that he had been royally wined and dined
and in his own words, "...had drunk toast to His Majesty the King, with about every officer and man on that
British carrier and also on the destroyer." Apparently he did not have much sleep while he was gone and it
sure looked like it.
Ensign Robert S. Farnsworth, Caldwell, New Jersey.
Caption above reads:
"Ensign Robert S. Farnsworth, Caldwell, N.J.
Penn State class of '45 lost a good man when Bob left his Engineering training there to join the Navy. Twenty-one
years old and a Kappa Sigma with a B.S. degree in sight, he trained at Pensacola and Melbourne, Florida, later
joining VF-6 and from there to VBF-6. Hails from Caldwell, New Jersey, and is unmarried."
The above photo of Ens. Farnsworth appeared in The Air Group Six Cruise book that was published at
the end of the war. Farnsworth was the pilot that shot down the Kamikaze at the end of the war while it was making
attack on the British task group. This was the last Japanese plane shot down in WWII.
Lieutenant Marshall O. Lloyd, Willowbrook, California
Caption above reads:
"Lieutenant Marshall O. Lloyd, Willowbrook, Calif.
Truly a veteran flyer, "Marty," the squadron Engineering Officer, has seen action aboard the U.S.S.Princeton
and later with VB-98 land-based in the Solomon Islands. A Sigma Nu from the University of California, where he
was a swimming champ, he wears the D.F.C award for a direct hit on a havy anti-aircraft position at Rabaul. While
training at Miami, Florida, he met and married Miss Virginia Owens of that city."
Marty Lloyd was the leader of the flight of F4U-4 fighter planes that intercepted and shot down the
last plane of WWII. Marty was also the one that made the trip to Sydney, Australia to attend a celebration in which
the Aussies showed their appreciation and thanks for saving their destroyer at the end of the war. Marty was the
only one of his division that could be found for this grand occasion.
The photo to the left appeared in the Los Angeles Times newspaper showing Cdr. Hank Miller with Ens.
Farnsworth the day that Air Group Six pilots gathered on the deck of the USS Hancock in San Pedro Harbor, California
to say good-bye to their planes and to each other as preparations were being made to decommission this famous air
group, 25 Oct 1945.
- Hersch Pahl
* Admiral John S. McCain is the grandfather of Senator John S. McCain, III, from
Arizona, and former Presidential hopeful.
"For those who fought for it...
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"