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
|President of the United States Harry Truman|
IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF
Ralph Huntington Hepworth
WHO DIED IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY
Attached to Patrol Bombing Squadron 124, Asiatic Area, 25 July 1946 (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
(SIGNITURE OF HARRY TRUMAN)
President of the United States Of America
We will never forget you.
is a day when we pause to give
to the People
who fought for the things we have.
Thanks for stopping by,