Friday, February 18, 2011

L-8: The mytsery begins...

Hi.Most people have not heard about the L8, so let me introduce you to a fascinating mystery from World War 2 that has gone unsolved so far...

 Blimps were used in the war to patrol for enemy submarines. There were a number of bases throughout the United States. Two notable bases were Lakehurst, New Jersey and Moffett Field, California. Lakehurst was made famous by the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937. Lakehurst was the center of blimp activity on the east coast. Moffett Field, also know as Sunnyvale N.A.S - Naval Air Station - included an air field on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. It was from this air field that the blimps took off and patrolled the seas looking for Japanese  submarines that hunted along the Pacific coastline.

One of these blimps was the L8. Purchased from Good Year, it was a new addition to the Lighter Than Air ships used by the Navy for anything from patrols to delivering goods. It was part of squadron 32.The L8 was the blimp that delivered supplies to the USS Hornet in April of 1942 for the Doolittle Raid on Japan. It flew missions from Treasure Island to the Farralone Islands and up to Reyes Point with a crew of three men attempting to site submarines.
It was equipped with two 350 pound bombs it could drop on the enemy.

On the morning of August 16th, 1942, the L-8 took off on it's morning mission. On board were Lieutenant Ernest Dewitt Cody and Ensign Charles Ellis Adams. The mechanic assigned to the flight, J Riley Hill, prepared the L-8 for it's flight,

As it was about to take-off, Hill was told that the ship was too heavy and ordered to say behind.

The L-8 took off at six a.m. At 7:50 a.m., about five miles east of the Farralone Island, they radioed that they were investigating an oil slick. "Standby..." was the last anyone heard of the crew of the L-8.....

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