2Lt Harold Ralph Stewart

2Lt Harold Ralph Stewart

Birth
Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA
Death 14 Feb 1943 (aged 24)
Bougainville, Bougainville (North Solomons), Papua New Guinea
Burial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Walls of the Missing
Memorial ID 56777767 · View Source
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F4U-1 Corsair Bureau Number 02249
USMC
VMF-124
Pilot 2nd Lt. Harold Ralph Stewart, O-011447 (MIA / KIA) AZ
MIA February 14, 1943 "Saint Valentines Day Massacre"
Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Assigned to the USMC. Assigned to VMF-124 operating from Guadalcanal.
Mission History
On February 14, 1943 one of twelve F4U Corsairs that took off from Guadalcanal to escort nine PB4Y-1 Liberators from VB-101 on a daylight mission against Japanese shipping off southern Bougainville. Additionally, ten P-38s of the 347th Fighter Group, 339th Fighter Squadron also escorted.

Over the target, the PB4Y-1s bombed the Hatachi Maru and damaging another ship. Intercepted by enemy A6M Zeros and A6M2-N Rufe floatplanes from Shortland. This aircraft was damaged by machine gun fire that holed the fuel tank, causing the tank to drain. Pilot Stewart dove down from 20,000' while pursued by Zeros and ditched into the sea. Enemy fighters strafed the plane and the deployed yellow life raft.

Due to the severe American losses, this mission became known as the "Saint Valentines Day Massacre".
Memorials
Stewart was officially declared dead on January 10, 1945. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
US Navy Loss Microfilm lists the pilot incorrectly as "Harold B. Stewart'
Thanks to Paul Rosles for additional information
Corsair page 30
"Two F4U's were also lost with their pilots, Lieutenants Lyon and Stewart.... only 3 Zekes were downed and one of them had collided with Lyon's Corsair... Stewart's element leader, First Lieutenant Lloyd B. Pearson reported what happened... 'Stewart's plane was racked with machine-gun fire diagonally across the main fuel cell. When Stewart rejoined me after the melee, I could see the gasoline spraying out of the numerous bullet holes. He appeared to be okay. After approximately ten minutes with us his fuel gave out, he waved goodbye and nosed down to the water from about 20,000 feet. The zero's then followed him down, shooting at him all the while. He made a successful water landing and I thought I could see a yellow spot (his life raft) beside the cockpit. However, the zero's continued to strafe him. We never heard from Stewart again.

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Arizona.

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  • Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56777767
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2Lt Harold Ralph Stewart (28 May 1918–14 Feb 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56777767, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by CWGC/ABMC (contributor 6) .