Conner - Howard M. - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Conner - Howard M.


Source: Waveland Independent, Waveland, Montgomery County, Indiana, Thursday, Dec 17, 1942

Marine Howard M. CONNER, 23, a nephew of Mrs. Lora GILKEY of this place was rescued recently after spending 8 blistering days and freezing nights atop a transport plane on a tiny coral reef in the South Pacific without food and water. According to the boys' mother, Mrs. William Conner of Patterson, NJ, Howard was ill with malaria and with 18 patients was being brought in a large transport plane to a hospital base at New Caledonia island. The plane with the patients and six crew members took off at dusk and lost its way. At dawn the plane ran out of gas and crash landed in the Coral Sea on a submerged coral reef. For 8 days the marine Captain and 24 other officers and crew members existed on a tiny reef without any nourishment. One day a fish was shot and eaten raw. The group on the 8th day was rescued by 3 Navy patrol flying boats, however, a terrific storm was raging and the huge flying ships were unable to take off. Crew members radioed for a destroyer which came in the night and before the men on the flying boat could transfer to the destroyer, their boat sank and the men floundered around in the water, until a small rubber raft which had been overturned floated by. Howard & nine others climbed into the rubber boat and were taken to New Caledonia Island. When young Conner arrived in New Caledonia he was in such a weakened condition that it was decided to have him transferred to the US aboard a US transport and he is rapidly recuperating from a most harrowing experience. Howard's wife has been making her home at Ft. Dix [New Jersey]. - typed by kbz
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