Sunday, May 27, 2012

In honor of Ralph H. Hepworth World War ll

Missing Pilot's Plane Sank
      Transport and Cargo Vessel
  (Editor's note:  The following dispatch from the U.S. Navy arrived one day after Times-News announcement that Lieut.(j.g.) Ralph H. Hepworth, Albion is missing in action in the Pacific.)
          SOMEWHERE IN THE PACIFIC - Lieut. (j.g.) Ralph H. Hepworth, USNR, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.V. Hepworth, live in Albion, Ida., was co-pilot of a navy Privateer search plane which recently sank a Japanese transport, a merchant ship and probably destroyed two Jap fighters planes during an anti-shipping patrol in the Pacific. 
     His four-engine search plane, out on reconnaissance patrol, entered an enemy harbor where two merchant ships and one transport were sighted. 
     Flying only 15 feet off the water the pilot made a strafing run over the three ships, the gunners plastering the transport and a merchantman with machine gun fire, circling around the Privateer came back in again, dropping four bombs.  One hit squarely on the deck of the transport, blowing the bow off, and the ship sank rapidly.  Before the big search plane left the area the transport and disappeared from view as had the strafed merchant ship.
     Turning to sea, the Privateer was immediately jumped by six Jap fighters which made a total of eight runs.  The turret gunners scored repeated hits on two of the fighters and one of the planes broke off, smoking badly.  Another Jap started a run from high above, but the gun crew boresighted him all the way.  The navy plane was flying only 50 feet off the water when the nip fighter dived.  He was on his back and burning when last seen. 

     In 1946 Ralph's family received this letter from the President of the United States
Harry Truman.   

President of the United States  Harry Truman
Ralph Huntington Hepworth
Attached to Patrol Bombing Squadron 124, Asiatic Area, 25 July 1946 (Presumed)

President of the United States Of America

We will never forget you.  

Memorial Day 
is a day when we pause to give 
 to the People 
who fought for the things we have. 

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, May 25, 2012

Ralph Huntington Hepworth

Picture taken abt 1925(age4) and 1942 (age 21)

     Ralph Huntington Hepworth was born to Charles Vern Hepworth
(my grandmother Hepworth Tomlinson's older brother)   and Mabel Ann Duffy in Salt Lake City Utah on 30 April 1921.  He was the third child of five, one older sister Yvonne who is still living, and three brothers all deceased.   
In 1928 the family moved from Salt Lake City to Albion, Idaho.
     I just found out today(24 May 2012) that the name Huntington is not a family name as I had assumed.  He was named after a place, Huntington Beach California.   Charles purchased some property in Huntington and it seem like a good name for the Hepworth's second born son.  
     Ralph grew up to be a hero, a young hero. 

Ralph Hepworth - Lieut G.E. Miller Long Beach, CA- Robert Littmann San Mateo CA. 
     I wish I had a better picture of Ralph with his Navy buddies G.E. MILLER and LITTMAN but, this is better than no picture.  All were lost at sea on 24 July 1945. 
     Today I will post  about what happened on
July 2, 1945.
This letter explains part of what happened.     

     The President of the United States takes pride in 
presenting the 
posthumously to 
for service as set forth in the following
     "For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Co-Pilot of a Land-Based Patrol Bomber, attached to Patrol Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR, during a search patrol over enemy Japanese-controlled waters between Korea and Kysushu, on July 2, 1945.  When the entire underside of the fuselage of his plane was ripped out during a bombing attack on an enemy merchantman, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade,) Hepworth rendered invaluable assistance to his pilot in preventing the plane from crashing and in flying the severely crippled aircraft back to base.  His expert airmanship and unswerving devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
                                       For the President
                                       James Forestal
                                        Secretary of the Navy 

This story was in the Newspaper's all over the world. 
I think this article was in the Twin Falls Times with the headlines;
Albion Pilot's Mangled Plane Back With Chunks of Ripped-off Jap Mast. 

   Okinawa, July 4 (U.P.)   An American Privateer search plane, its belly ripped out and it crew hanging from its sides like trapeze artists while its pilot fought to reach home, brought back two chunks of the mast of a Japanese freighter attacked in the Tsushima straits between Kyushu and Korea. 
"We came home on prayer and hope." said Lieut. G.E. Miller, Long Beach, Calif., the pilot.
Miller's Privateer with another piloted by Lieut. D.E. Ellis, Kalamazoo, Mich., flying wing to wing pounced on a freighter and began spraying the decks with machinegun fire.  
    Esign Robert A. Littmann, San Mateo, Calif., the navigator reported:
"We started to pull out when there was a terrible rip-tearing noise going through the plan--it was the mast of the ship.  We hit with the nose of the plane and were ripped 25 feet through the whole belly.  A marine photographer was injured in the nose as the mast hit and took out the deck.  The crew were just hanging onto the sides from straps."
     The Privateer turned up on end as Miller pulled out only five feet above
the water.  Lieut R. H. Hepworth, Albion, Ida., co-pilot, said: 
 "The plane was shaking all over and felt like it would fall apart.  All the instruments were lost except an airspeed indicator and a magnetic compass.  With everything gone it was still possible to get it back."
     In the wing plane co-pilot Ens. Henry M. Page, Grosse Ile, Mich., signalled Ellis to turn around and assist the stricken Privateer.  Below them the Japanese freighter blazed and smoked.  With nearly 500 miles to return to Okinawa the plane shook loose hundreds of small parts as the crewmen stuck to their posts hanging over the white-capped ocean-four engines kept them in the air. 
     A few miles from Okinawa, Miller ordered the crewmen to edge 
forward and jam themselves around the flight deck.  They piled around the injured marine bobsled fashion to absorb the shock of wheels-up 
crash- landing. 
     Miller brought his plane down perfectly, the nose slightly up, the ripped bottom sliding about 200 yards along the coral runway.  None were hurt. 
     Inside the plane were found two pieces torn from the top of the mast-one hunk two feet long, the other about one foot-- several Japanese ammunition boxes which flew up into the fuselage and a piece of cloth, apparently a signal flag.  

Under Ralph's picture it reads:
Lieut. Ralph H. Hepworth
.........he and his fellow navy air crewmen his their enemy target, 
but they were moving so fast that 
the mast of a Japanese freighter
tore through the belly of their 
ship, leaving the Americans clinging
to straps far above the sea. 
They made it in to Okinawa, but
it is a flight they will never forget. 

The next article printed with this article dated July 5  ALBION, is more about  Ralph. 

     The vigorous school athletics in which he participated must have been a contributing factor to Lieut. (j.g.) Ralph H. Hepworth's being alive today. 
     Friends and relatives here, reading of the grueling experience Lieutenant Hepworth and fellow members of a Privateer air crew encountered after attacking a Japanese freighter, remembered that both in public school, the State Normal and at the University of Idaho he took an active part in football basketball and other sports.  
     The son of Charles V. Hepworth, the lieutenant has been service three years taking boot training in both California and Texas.  He has been overseas for a year. 
     Lieutenant Hepworth, who was president of the Albion student body, has two brothers, First Lieut. Charles M. Hepworth and S 1/c Merle Hepworth, serving somewhere in the Pacific. 
     The Privateer, of which Lieutenant Hepworth was co-pilot had attacked and enemy freighter and swept so low that the mast of the vessel ripped through the bottom of the fuselage.  That forced the American occupants to hang to sides of the plane like trapeze artists high above the ocean. 
      The plane was shaking all over and many of its parts were torn off and fell into the sea. 
     They were nearly 500 miles from Okinawa, but while the perilous fight was nearly over-the greatest danger of all was yet to be faced....a crash landing. 
     The men edged their way arm over arm to the flight deck and huddled about a marine photographer who had been injured, supporting him so that he would not be further harmed when the plane bellied flat against the surface of the landing field.  

Thanks for stopping by;

Monday, May 21, 2012

Celebrating Memorial Day by Remembering Ralph Huntington Hepworth

Utah Military Records, 1861-1970 via 

     Next Monday is Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day.   This day originated after the Civil American War to ommemorate the fallen Union Soldiers of the Civil War.
By the twentieth century Memorial Day was extended to   honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
         This Memorial Day I am going to honor a cousin of Dad's,

Ralph Huntington Hepworth

He was lost at sea on 24 July 1945.

I found the above record very recently on  A record that was not available last year when I researched Ralph.   If I were searching for Ralph Hepworth for the first time, this record would yield some great information (but not perfect.)  
I will transcribe the information;

Ser. # 278412  Still MISSING  11-30-46     KILLED 
Born; April 30, 1921 (or 22) Salt Lake City (In Ut. 6 Yrs)
Father:  Charles Vern Hepworth  DECEASED (4-30-47)
Mother:  Mable Ann Duffy Hepworth,  1424 Harrison Ave. SLC  DECEASED

Address:  Albion, Idaho
Aunt:  Mrs. Royal Daw, 464 E. 2nd So. 
       Enlisted:  5-1-42 Seattle, Wash.
*Awarded 4 bronze stars, purple heart - 1945
WOUNDED July 25 1945 OFF OKINAWA  (Let. 2-9-48)
ALONG WEST COAST OF KOREA (Let. 11-30-46)  Reported: 10-6-45
(LET. 6-24-47)   Reported 11-15-17)

This record verifies:
A full name - birth and place
Father and Mother's full name and they are deceased.
A relative's name and address.
And he enlisted on the very day I was born!
Wonderful information.

Pictures of Ralph and more information will be posted through the week. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"We Packed Our Trunks and Journeyed To Zion"

A 'trunk' filled with artifacts were the centerpieces for
eleven tables.  Each one decorated, delightfully, different.

     Last Saturday, 5 May 2012 the Daughters of Utah Pioneers had their annual convention to the theme of "We Packed Our Trunks and Journeyed To Zion."  An event myself and six other members of the Benton Company Board have been planning for since the first of the year. 
      Let me explain what DUP is about. 
This is a society for decedents of Utah Pioneers that; came to, died en-route to, or was born in the Utah Territory/State of Deseret before 10 May 1869, the date of completion of the Railroad.    Pioneers include members of the LDS faith seeking religious freedom, and NON members of the LDS faith; members of the Mormon Battalion, Johnston's Army, workers on the railroad and trappers and hunters, anyone, with no regard of creed or ethnic background.    If a woman does not have 'Utah Pioneer Heritage' she may join as an associate member but, cannot hold an elective position.    (Big Woop)
     A DUP Company is comprised of DUP Camps.  In our Benton County Company we have seven camps a total of one hundred twenty three active members.  I have the privilege of being the Company President and have six very talented and supporting 'daughters' on my board for a two year term.  
    Our camps meets once a month from September through May.  Without going into every detail of our meetings;  we have historical lessons, ancestor histories, pioneer music, and patriotic themes.  It is nonsectarian and nonpolitical.    I joined DUP ten years ago.  It is my way of honoring my Pioneer Heritage.  To always remember the sacrifices they made. I feel they are a special kind of people who had a lot of faith, a lot of courage and fortitude to achieve impossible tasks.  I have learned so much about myself in my 'study' of each ancestor.  
To learn more about DUP here is the web site. International Daughter of Utah Pioneers

"Mary was given this beautiful dress at the dock in Wales by her Sister-in-Law, Sophia Davis."  
 On with the whole purpose of this post!  Above you see a beautiful green taffeta dress that belonged to Mary Rees born in 1840 at Argoed, Bedwelty, Monmouthshire, Wales.   One month after her marriage to Henry Hugh Harries on 15 March 1859 at age nineteen, Mary and Henry migrated to Zion, sailing on the ship William Topscott then crossing the plains with the Robert F. Nelson Company arriving in the Salt Lake Territory on 15 Sep 1859.  Mary brought this dress and many other dresses as well as material across the plains.  It is one hundred and fifty three years old and is still in wonderful shape.  Handmade, it is exquisite.  Today it is entrusted by Mary's decedent Ellen who lives in the Seattle area.  Ellen is a dear friend of our Vice President Trudy who did all of the arranging (many hours)  in bringing the dress to our convention to put on display.    Needless to say all enjoyed the annual convention.   
     Now to tie this to my own Utah Pioneer.   My third great-grandfather Charles Kidgell Sr. and his daughter and husband second great-aunt and uncle Caroline Kidgell and John Higson came on the same ship and crossed in the same company as Henry and Mary.     
I can assume they were very well acquainted with one another so long ago.
Wedding dress, early 1900's.

One more picture of another beautiful dress on display at our convention.      

     This is a beautiful wedding dress of a second great-grandmother of Charlene a member of our DUP Meadow Springs Camp.  It's over one hundred years old and again, in wonderful shape. 
     My Thanks to everyone in putting on this successful convention!

     Now that our home has been refurbished, a trip to Utah for a grand-daughter and grand-son-in-law college graduation and traveling to Idaho,then the DUP convention I hope to get back to a normal schedule which involves posting on a regular basis.   
  Thanks for stopping by.