CPT James Wentworth Boyden

CPT James Wentworth Boyden

Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida, USA
Death 14 Feb 1944 (aged 22)
Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Burial Whittier, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Camellia Lawn, Section 4, Lot 2944 Grave 2
Memorial ID 177555207 · View Source
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"Student body president of Whittier High School Class of '39. Attended Pomona College, did not graduate. Joined Navy, transferred to Marines. Was a pilot. Achieved the rank of Captain (posthumously). Serial number 0-017011-1.

He was in the Marine Torpedo Bombing Group 233, Marine Aircraft Group 11, Marine Aircraft South Pacific.

His plane had failed to return after a successful mission of mine-laying in enemy harbors. He was placed on the MIA rolls on 2/14/1944, changed to Killed in Action the following day by the Secretary of the Navy. [NOTE: The contemporary newspaper article of 1945 suggests otherwise.]

The wreckage was found at Simpson Harbor near the eastern side of Lakunai Airfield. The wreck was fairly intact when discovered, but after the 1994 eruption when boats moored nearby it, it was broken in half by an anchor. Today, it is still recognizable as an Avenger.

Boyden was officially declared dead on April 15, 1945. Patrickus and Thompson were officially declared dead on February 15, 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and Victory Medal World War II.

On active duty in Naval Reserve from May 7, 1942 to December 30, 1942 and as an officer in the Marine Corps reserve from December 31, 1942 to February 14, 1944.

Listed as 69 1/2 inches, blue eyes and blond hair per USMC.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Citation read as follows:
"The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant James W. Boyden (MCSN: 0-17011), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for heroism, conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Section Leader of a Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron engaged in aerial combat activities in the Solomon Islands and New Britain areas. First Lieutenant Boyden participated in numerous night and daylight attacks upon heavily defended enemy land installations and shipping during the periods from 11 August to 22 September 1943, from 1 November to 10 December 1943, and from 26 January to 14 February 1944. In a night mine laying mission conducted in Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, on 14 February 1944, First Lieutenant Boyden courageously pressed home his attack which required straight and level flight at a slow airspeed and precariously low altitude in the face of numerous enemy searchlights and severe and intense heavy and automatic anti-aircraft fire. Before reaching his objective First Lieutenant Boyden was picked up by many enemy searchlights and was forced to maneuver his aircraft through an intense and accurate barrage of enemy anti-aircraft fire. Despite the enemy fire which repeatedly hit and damaged his aircraft, First Lieutenant Boyden courageously and skillfully drove home his attack and released his mine in its assigned position in the mine field before being shot down by the severe enemy fire. His high courage, superb airmanship, and devotion to duty throughout were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

General Orders: Commander South Pacific: Serial 4271 (October 11, 1944)

29 March 2017 Update from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency:

"In 2016, personnel from DPAA conducted an excavation of a possible crash site and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of his remains. Accounted for: 3/3/2017."

See CD entitled "CIL 2014-191-I-01, Captain James W. Boyden, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve"

Family Members

  • Created by: John V. Richardson Jr.
  • Added: 20 Mar 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 177555207
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  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for CPT James Wentworth Boyden (18 Mar 1921–14 Feb 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 177555207, citing Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by John V. Richardson Jr. (contributor 47035137) .