Today marks the 71st anniversary of the sinking of the venerable seaplane tender LANGLEY just 75nm from Tjilatjap, Java by IJNAF bombers + fighters.
Thanks to fine rescue work and shiphandling by WHIPPLE and EDSALL--and a good deal of luck--485 men were saved when the tender had to be abandoned.
Casualties on LANGLEY were light, all things considered, but men were killed--including Chief Hank Mummey, a 23 year veteran--more wounded, many of whom required urgent medical care. EDSALL carried the divisional Medical Officer for DesDiv 57, LT Chas. G. Butler, and therefore had the seriously wounded aboard her.
Had the 2 destroyers been allowed to proceed into Tjilatjap, a great number of these young men might have yet survived. They were not, however, and in a concatenation of bad choices were sent instead to meet USS PECOS at Christmas island...A grievous error.
The rest is well known...
CMM Mummey's daughter survives to this day (age 87) and is a walking encyclopedia of life in the navy, both in San Diego and at Cavite before the war. Because her generosity and friendliness have done so much to perpetuate the memory of LANGLEY ("the old Covered Wagon") and the Asiatic Fleet over many years, I wanted to remember both AV-3 and her father, Hank, at this time.
For many years I have been searching for information concerning a first cousin once removed, Earl B. Hall, who was Avation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, was a member of Pat Wing 10, was killed in the battle of Holo Sulu Island in the southern Phillipines on Dec. 27, 1941 and was never found. His ship was the USS Langley. He was stationed at Cavite. The family was told that his plane went down 200 yards off the coast of Holo Sulu, but his body was never found.
I have searched for records concerning his death, and I have searched for pictures of the crew members of Pat Wing 10, but have not found any. I would be delighted to learn anything more about Earl. Being only a year old when Earl was killed, I grew up with stories about him and listened as his parents talked of him. My interest has never diminished. If you have any information or know of anyone who might have information, I would be so appreciative of your help in my research.
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