On This Day…December 29th
Sailors of the USS Essex (CV-9) spelling out “Goede Kerst” (Merry Christmas) on the flight deck while putting in at Rotterdam port, the Netherlands, 29th December 1961.
The Essex was the lead ship of her class of 24 aircraft carriers. Originally 32 Essex class carriers were ordered but as the War wound down, 8 were cancelled or stopped i production. Only four ships were preserved; USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Hornet (CV-12), and the Lexington (CV-16). The Essex was decommissioned from WW2 service on 9 Jan 1947 and on 16 Jan 1951, after modernization, was recommissioned and served in the Korean War and the Cold War. Her final decommission took place in 1969 ans sadly sold for scrap on 1st June, 1975.
An iconic photo of St Paul’s Cathedral, London. The 29th December saw the worst bombing of the Blitz, now known in history as ‘The Second Great Fire of London’.
On December 29th, 1944, Major Carroll Smith, and his radar operator, Lt. Phillip Porter, intercepted and destroyed four Japanese aircraft in a single night with their P-61B, ‘Times-A-Wastin’. With these four Japanese aircraft destroyed off the coast of Mindoro, Major Smith became the highest scoring U.S. Night Fighter Ace with a total of seven kills.
Lt Gen George S. Patton and Brig Gen Anthony C. McAuliffe, Bastogne, 29th december 1944.
Spitfire of No. 122 Squadron RAF, seen with its Free French pilot, Pilot Officer G le Gall at Hornchurch, Essex, on the evening of 29 December 1942.