Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

MEAD, Wilbert L

Tulagi

Port side view of the British cargo vessel Tulagi.


Wilbert L. Mead was born in Missouri, United States of America in 1906. At the age of twenty-three, on 16 June 1930, he married Merle R. Etter (age twenty-one) and became brother-in-law to Harry G. and Wilma F. Murphy. In his civilian life Mead was a sales clerk; by the time he joined the army in 1931 he was divorced.

Mead enlisted as a Private for the Branch Immaterial—Warrant Officers, United States of America in San Francisco, California on 28 March 1931 (service number 39006236).

Some of the American troops of the 148th Field Artillery were required to spend the night of 18 February on the Tulagi; when the Japanese attacked on 19 February 1942, these troops fought to stay alive alongside their Australian comrades. Disregarding his own safety, Mead remained on deck to assist with firing a .50-caliber machine gun at the enemy planes trying to sink the ship. Mead died either from being hit by a bomb fragment, or by bullets that were being sprayed over the deck from the Japanese Zeros.

Mead was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, Section B, Site 659; he was posthumously awarded the United States Purple Heart Medal.

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