Ens Walter Harold Mosley

Ens Walter Harold Mosley

Waco, McLennan County, Texas, USA
Death 4 Jun 1942 (aged 26)
At Sea
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56126374 · View Source
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Walter Monroe Mosley and Maude M McMillan were married in Bell county, TX on 20 Aug 1905. They were the parents of at least 3 children; Frankie (f), Lealer M., and Walter Harold Mosley. Known as Harold he graduated from Austin High School in 1934. He entered as a student the University of Texas (UTEP) College of Mines and Metallurgy in 1934 and graduated in 1938 with a degree in Business Administration and Economics. While in college his extracurricular activities included the Academic Association, Pre-Law Society, and he played in the school's band.
Walter Harold Mosley enlisted in the US Naval Reserve (NSN:407-30-14) on 12 February 1940 in Dallas, TX as a V-5 Seaman 2/c, USNR. He reported to the US Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Miami (Opa-Locka), FL on 15 Feb 1940 from the Naval Reserve Station, Dallas, TX to begin the Elimination phase of his aviation training program. Having passed his Elimination training Mosley was transferred to inactive duty on 14 March 1940 to await further orders. Appointed an aviation cadet 27 June 1940, he completed flight training at Pensacola and was commissioned an Ensign 20 Jan 1941. Assigned to Patrol Squadron 22, he was based at Ford Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. In January 1942, he flew with his squadron to Darwin, Australia, to support the Allied attempt to halt the Japanese advance through Southeast Asia. Based on seaplane tender WILLIAM B. PRESTON (AVD-7), Mosley flew patrols north of Australia into the Java Sea and surrounding waters plotting the movements of the Japanese. As co-pilot of a PBY-5, he departed for a patrol south of Amboina, Moluccas, 19 February 1942. With Lt. Thomas H. Moorer (later admiral and Chief of Naval Operations) as pilot, the patrol plane spotted a merchant ship off Melville Island, Australia, and turned to investigate. About 0920, nine Japanese fighters, part of a 70-plane force enroute to bomb Darwin, jumped the PBY. Soon, the plane was in flames, its port engine out and fuel streaming along the fuselage. Despite the attacking fighters, Lieutenant Moorer and Ensign Mosley skillfully landed the plane. In Lieutenant Moorer’s words, Mosley assisted by handling the throttle “although dazed and bleeding profusely from a wound in the head.” FLORENCE D., an American merchant ship carrying ammunition to the Philippines, rescued the crew. Later that day, Japanese carrier planes attacked the unarmed ship with 500-pound bombs. Survivors, including Mosley, made Bathurst Island in two lifeboats about midnight, and a RAAF patrol plane spotted them on the 21st. The next morning, HMAS ARRANAMBOOL, an Australian sub-chaser, rescued them and carried them to Darwin on 23 February. Early in March, Mosley returned to the United States for convalescent leave to recover from his wounds. On 21 April 1942 Ensign Mosley A-V(N), USNR, was a passenger aboard the USS Wharton (AP-7) enroute from San Francisco to Hawaii and duty with VP-44.

Patrol Squadron Forty-four (VP-44) departed from the Naval Air Station, Alameda, CA for Pearl Harbor, T.H., in two divisions of six planes each. The first of these left the United States on March 26, 1942. The second, because of unfavorable weather, delayed its departure until April 12. Ordered to Midway for extended operations, PATRON 44 arrived at Eastern Island on the 22nd of May and began long range reconnaissance flights on 27 May. During the first few days of June 1942, the VP-23 and VP-44 PBYs based at Midway flew long patrols over the trackless ocean, searching for signs of enemy shipping. Then on 3 Jun came the first surface contact reports from the VP-23 PBY searchers. The following day, 04 Jun 1942, pilot Lt. (j.g.) Robert S. Whitman and his PBY-5A Catalina from VP-44 were airborne again when he reported contact at 0925 with enemy ships (probably the Japanese Occupation Force), antiaircraft fire, and that his aircraft was being "opposed by two enemy observation planes." Japanese Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 floatplanes from the seaplane carrier Chitose had attacked Ltjg Whitman's Catalina about 340 miles west of Midway. During the attack Whitman and four other crewmen were killed and one mortally wounded, and the plane set afire. AOM2c Philip L. Fulghum, the PBY’s bow gunner, continued to man his .50-caliber machine gun, and sent one of the attackers away trailing smoke. On his own initiative, with a crash imminent, Fulghum released the plane’s two 500-pound bombs. After the crash, AMM1c Virgil Ruel Marsh, despite the roaring flames, freed a rubber boat from the plane, which AMM2c John C. Weeks repaired. Fulghum then assisted the wounded into the raft. Several days later, June 6, 1942, a PBY commanded by Ltjg Norman Bradley located the five men in the raft. He safely picked them up and returned them to Midway. Ensign Camp died on Midway of his wounds on 07 Jun 1942. After the battle of Midway Patrol Squadron 44 returned to Pearl Harbor on 09 Jun 1942.
Ensign Mosley was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “extremely gallant and intrepid conduct” during the air action of 19 February 1942. He was also awarded (posthumously) the Purple Heart for this action and a 5/16 inch star in lieu of a second Purple Heart for wounds he received on 04 Jun 1942.
Ensign Mosley's family received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

“In grateful memory of Walter Harold Mosley, United States Navy (Reserve), who died in the service of his country at Midway Islands, 5 June 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(signed), Franklin D Roosevelt, President of the United States of America)”

(Compiler's note: *Presumed dead on 5 Jun 1943. Actual date gone missing was 4 Jun 1942.)
USS MOSLEY (DE-321) was named in his honor. Her keel was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex., 6 April 1943; launched 26 June 1943; sponsored by *Mrs. A. G. Mosley [his mother]; and commissioned at Orange 30 October 1943. Stricken from the Navy Register on 2 January 1971, MOSLEY was sold for scrap on 22 August 1973.
Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas) – 09 May 1943, Sun – p. 12

Escort Destroyer Named for Son of Breckenridge Man
Breckenridge, May 8 – (Spl.) – W.M. Mosley of this city has received information that an escort destroyer vessel, named in honor of his son, Ens. Walter Harold Mosley, killed in the battle of Midway, will be launched at Orange, on June 1. Ensign Mosley was killed on June 4, 1942, on the fifth day of the battle of Midway, his plane going down into the sea in flames. His father said he has received information that his son made three trips a day with bombs from his base before being shot down. This took place after Ensign Mosley had visited his father here on Feb. 19, 1942, while on leave to recover from wounds. Mosley and his companions had shot down two or three Japanese planes when suddenly 72 enemy planes swarmed down upon them. They were shot down into the sea. Mosley was picked up by a freighter and a short time afterward the freighter was bombed. All except four men go away in boats. They escaped to an island where they remained two days without food or water before being rescued. Ensign Mosley was a Pearl Harbor when the Japs attacked and afterwards saw service in Java and at Darwin, Australia. His home was in El Paso. The vessel named in honor of his memory will be launched by the Plant Consolidated Steel Company.
Big Spring Daily Herald, Big Spring, Tx page 12 published Sunday, June 13, 1943
Escort Vessel to Honor Naval Flier - Orange, June 12 ? -- Named for a Texas naval flier, the destroyer escort vessel Mosley is scheduled to be launched here June 19 at the yards of the Consolidated Steel Corporation. Sponsor of the vessel will be Mrs A. G. Mosley (3609 Louisville St.), El Paso, mother of the late Ensign Walter H. Mosley, killed in action in the Pacific. Ensign Mosley was born in Waco and was killed on June 4, 1942, in enemy action in the Pacific area while attached to a patrol squadron.
Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, Texas) - 29 Aug 1943, Sun - p. 18
22 on Decorated List This Month In Central Texas
More Medals Are Given Service Men of This Section for Heroic Action in Battle

Twenty-two more decorations were added to the central Texas medals list during the past month. The list of decorations awarded central Texans since the United States entered the war, as far as these newspapers have been able to ascertain, follows; . . .
Ensign Walter Harold Mosley, nephew of O. B. Mosley, Waco (silver star, purple heart, posthumously).
The crew of 44-P-12 (call sign 8V55)

ACRM James W. Adams, (Radio Operator)
(KIA-Drowned after clearing downed aircraft)
Ens Jack H Camp (Observer) (Died of Wounds 7 Jun 1942)
Philip L. Fulghum, AOM2, (Bombarier/Bow gunner) (WIA - exposure)
Virgil R. Marsh, AMM1, (Flight Engineer) (WIA - exposure)
Ensign Walter H. Mosley, (Co-pilot) (KIA)
Norby, Clarence J. Jr. AMM3c (Gunner) (KIA)
RM3c William H. O'Farrell, (Gunner)(KIA)
Weeks, John C. AMM2c (Gunner) (WIA)
Lt.(jg) Robert S. Whitman, (Pilot) (KIA)
Ensign Lee Coleman McCleary (Navigator) (WIA)
*According to a Texas birth certificate that was corrected and sworn to as being true by Mrs Cubelle Mosley Vesey, Walter Harold, was the son of W.M. and Maude (McMillan) Mosley and not Arthur Gresham and Lillian E Mosley. According to the 1940 El Paso, TX federal census, Harold was their nephew, not their son.
[bio compiled and newspaper articles transcribed by G47]

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Gravesite Details Entered the service from Texas.

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  • Maintained by: G47
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56126374
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ens Walter Harold Mosley (17 Jan 1916–4 Jun 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56126374, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by G47 (contributor 47281148) .