Rm3 William Hubert O'Farrell

Rm3 William Hubert O'Farrell

Death 4 Jun 1942
At Sea
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56127240 · View Source
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Son of Mrs Frances O'Farrell Moss.

Radioman Third Class William Hubert O'Farrell, (NSN: 337-26-64), was assigned to Patrol Squadron Forty-Four (VP-44). 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 Ltjg Robert S. Whitman (pilot), Ens. Walter H Mosley (co-pilot), ARMC James W. Adams (radioman), RM3 William H. O'Farrell (gunner), and AMM3 Clarence J Norby Jr (gunner) were killed. Ens Jame Hill Camp (observer) was 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 while in the water. Fulghum then assisted the wounded into the raft. Several days later, June 6, 1942, a PBY commanded by Ltjg Norman Bradley, VP-23, 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. Petty Officer O'Farrell (NSN: 337-26-64) was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. His remains were unrecoverable.
Petty Officer O'Farrell's family received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

“In grateful memory of William Hubert O'Farrell, United States Navy, 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.)
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)
[bio compiled by G47]

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Illinois.

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  • Maintained by: G47
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56127240
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rm3 William Hubert O'Farrell (unknown–4 Jun 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56127240, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by G47 (contributor 47281148) .