Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

SIMPSON, Frederick Jefferson

USS William B Preston

William B. Preston

Frederick Jefferson Simpson, Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (233-95-03). He enlisted 22 December 1938 at San Pedro California. He served on the Medusa and Langley. He transferred to Peary from the USS Langley as a passenger on 7 January 1942 “For Further Transfer to Commander Patrol Wing 10”. Missing in action 19 February 1942.  Buried at Sea by Administrative Decision. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Helen A. Simpson 134 West Hawthorne St. San Diego.

Evan Gluba, Lester Kerns, Doyle Redfern and Frederick Simpson are listed as KIA  or MIA on the Preston log for 19 February, but not on the “Report of Changes” to the crew.

USS William B. Preston was anchored in Darwin Harbour, tending PBY Catalinas, when the Japanese attack began on 19 February 1942. She quickly got underway, zigzagging through the crowded Harbour. Four bombs exploded off William B. Preston’s bow, breaking bridge windows. She was then hit near the deckhouse, losing control of her steering and jamming the rudder. The aft living compartment was seriously damaged; the deck house was strafed and her machine guns were out of action. Fourteen men were killed, including three missing and four wounded. Carlsen and Gluba died of wounds; the bodies of Redfern and Parks were never recovered.

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