Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

SHULER, Joseph Clifton

Catalina
A Catalina, landing in Darwin harbour


Joseph Clifton Shuler, Aviation Metalsmith 2nd Class (356-12-85), enlisted on 13 May 1939 in Dallas, Texas. He was the son of Mrs F. N. C. Shuler of 742 Pine Street, Pacific Grove, California, and brother to Ted Shuler, also of Patrol Wing 22.

Shuler was in the Catalina commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Moorer, which took off from Darwin at 8am on 19 February. The Catalina was attacked and shot down by nine of the Japanese Zeros that later attacked Darwin. Lieutenant Moorer managed to land the flaming Catalina on the open water but four of the crew members were wounded.

Shuler helped Ruzak and Fairchild launch the raft through the navigator's hatch. The raft was picked up by the Florence D, but the ship was attacked later that afternoon by a second wave of carrier born aircraft. Joseph Shuler died when a bomb exploded almost on top of him. 

Shuler was the only member of the Patrol Wing 22 crew to die that day. His body was not recovered. Shuler’s brother Ted survived the war. 

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