Wreck­age of war ship found in Co­ral Sea

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents - – KEVIN McQUIL­LAN

Wreck­age from the USS Lex­ing­ton, an air­craft car­rier that sank dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Co­ral Sea with Ja­panese forces dur­ing World War 2, has been found three kilo­me­tres be­neath the sea sur­face and about 800 kilo­me­tres off the eastern coast of Aus­tralia.

The badly dam­aged ship, nick­named ‘Lady Lex’, was scut­tled af­ter the bat­tle in May 1942. More than 200 crew died in the bat­tle, but an­other 2770 were res­cued be­fore the Lex­ing­ton went down, along with 35 air­craft.

One of the most re­mark­able el­e­ments of the dis­cov­ery is well-pre­served air­craft (pic­tured), bear­ing US Army Air Force in­signia on their wings and fuse­lage.

On one air­craft, an em­blem of the car­toon char­ac­ter Felix the Cat can be seen, along with four minia­ture Ja­panese flags pre­sum­ably de­pict­ing ‘kills’.

The ship took part in the Bat­tle of the Co­ral Sea with the USS York­town against three Ja­panese car­ri­ers, the first car­rier ver­sus car­rier bat­tle in his­tory.

A month af­ter the Lex­ing­ton was sunk, the US Navy sur­prised Ja­panese forces at the Bat­tle of Mid­way and turned the tide of the war in the Pa­cific.

The wreck­age was found by a team funded by Mi­crosoft co­founder and billionaire, Paul Allen, on board a re­search ves­sel, Pe­trel.

Robert Kraft, di­rec­tor of sub­sea oper­a­tions for Allen, says find­ing the Lex­ing­ton was a pri­or­ity be­cause she was one of the cap­i­tal ships that was lost dur­ing World War 2. ■

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