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Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II - Revised, Updated Edition, 2011


Squadron 4:
A Cockpit
View of
World War II

(First Edition)

Squadron 4:
The Red



Air Group 4 - Casablanca to Tokyo

Dedicated to those who
served in VT-4, VB-4, VF-4,
VMF-124 and VMF-213

Remembering Frederick Howe, 1900-1944

By Mason A. "M-A" Clark, VT-4

Frederick "Fred" Howe, AMM3c was an "elderly man" by the measure of us kids in Torpedo Four at the time. He and Jerry Cohen were good friends – playing some kind of game (rummy?) every day. At the age of 44 he did not need to be in the Navy. I recall Hutch reminding us of this when he gave the memorial service. As I recall, two women relatives or friends attended.

I believe some of the pilots were away at the time the accident happened.

The plane on which Fred was serving as radioman was flying out of Ayer over water and had engine trouble. There was talk on the radio of the choice of parachuting or making a water landing. A water landing was made, but Fred apparently had started to fit his parachute, became entangled in it, and drowned. The plane was in shallow water and was recovered.

The pilot and turret man got out. I do not recall the names of either. They had been with VT-4 a short time. They were transferred out of the squadron a few weeks later.

The memorial service for Frederick Howe, AMM3c was held May 21, 1944 at US Naval Auxiliary Air Facility in Ayer, Massachusetts. Lt. Cdr H. H. "Hutch" Hutcheson attended as the Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron Four. Lt(jg) P. B. Upchurch was the Chaplain.

Frederick Howe was born April 17, 1900 and died May 9, 1944.

This correspondence from Mason Clark about the loss of Fred Howe again reminds us of the large number of operational accidents in Air Group 4 during WWII. It also reminds us of the lack of detailed information about the circumstances associated with the loss. So far, we have no record of the other two occupants of the plane, copies of correspondence with the family, or a photo.

The Memorial Service for Fred Howe was held on 21 May 1944. At this time, Torpedo 4 had been detached from the USS Ranger and was stationed at Fort Devens, Ayer, Massachusetts. About the time of this accident, some of the Squadron were authorized a short leave. Also, from May 7 to June 3, several of us were sent to VD-2, a special photography unit at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. All of these circumstances contributed to the fact that we lack details of this loss to our Squadron. A tribute to AMM3c Frederick Howe is certainly appropriate. He gave his life in the cause of freedom for our country. -- Gerald W. Thomas, VT-4

Air Group 4 - "Casablanca to Tokyo"
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