WW2 Hero Found From 1944 Combat Footage

WW2 Hero Found From 1944 Combat Footage | World War Wings Videos

YouTube / TJ3 History

This WWII hero was found because of a YouTube comment in one of TJ3 History’s videos, where he was recognized from the 1944 combat footage.

A Tragic End

On November 5, 1944, Loyce Deen, a TBF Avenger gunner stationed at USS Essex, took off for a mission that sadly would be his last.

His plane would take direct hits from anti-aircraft fire from a Japanese cruiser during their attack run.

Loyce was instantly killed – his turret mangled and torn apart from the shell that exploded inside. 

YouTube / TJ3 History

As the pilot finished the mission and landed the plane back in Essex, the crew found out it was impossible to remove Loyce’s body from the plane.

They had to clear the deck for an approaching Japanese raid. Thus, the crew made a difficult decision for Loyce Deen to be buried at sea while still inside of his aircraft.

YouTube / TJ3 History

A war correspondent filmed the event and the makeshift funeral the crew was forced to put on for their deceased aviator. 

Unexpected Twist

TJ3’s YouTube channel featured Deen’s story, and a viewer recognized the man on the side of the plane from the footage – his name was Dick Wilson.

What’s even more unbelievable is that he’s still very much alive in Washington.

YouTube / TJ3 History

The viewer emailed a photograph to the TJ3 History team showing Wilson tending to Loyce Deen inside of the turret. The team flew to Seattle to interview Wilson himself and learn about his story.


Dick Wilson went to the Pacific in March 1944 aboard the USS Essex. He was stationed on the flight deck when the Essex were hit by kamikaze attacks. 

YouTube / TJ3 History

“Somebody just hollered ‘Kamikaze!’ and the 40mm mount on the port side of the ship was hit real bad and everybody there was killed. I entered a hatch and somebody pulled me in there and consequently, I wasn’t injured, but I was able to help those that were.” Wilson recalled.

Attack on Mainland Japan

After the attacks, their carrier was repaired, and in 1945, the planes of USS Essex attacked Tokyo. In August, the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima while Wilson was on the flight deck.

YouTube / TJ3 History

“I was on the flight deck at the time and I remember somebody saying that they’re dropping this bomb over Hiroshima. All I can remember is that- we said, hey let’s keep an eye open to see what goes on. That’s what when we happen to see a mushroom from the bomb dropping over there. We were probably 50 or so miles off the east coast of Japan at the time.”

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