Remembering Lloyd F. Childers

Updated 23 August 2020

On My Forgotten Hobby III, one story leads to another and then to another. 

© John Greaves Art (with the permission of Janet Greaves)

All the images of John Leonard Greaves’ paintings were uploaded from his Website where the background stories were written. His Website does not exist anymore. The only clue I have for his background stories are the image filenames.

Childers 20130628

This is a link to Lloyd F. Childers’ story:


Lloyd F. Childers is a dignified and stoic man who unnecessarily apologized for not standing to greet me. I visited to his home in Walnut Creek, California, to discuss the important part he played at Midway. Childers was an Aviation Radioman Third Class in the Yorktown’s Torpedo Squadron Three (VT-3). He flew in the rear cockpit of a TBD Devastator, a dangerously slow, thoroughly obsolete aircraft that was already in the process of being retired from the Fleet in favor of its successor, the TBF Avenger. The U.S. torpedo squadrons were decimated at Midway; Childers was the sole radioman-gunner in his squadron to survive the 4 June attack on the Japanese carriers.

More about T-3 here :

The U.S. Navy Douglas TBD-1 Devastator (BuNo 0303, “T-3”) from Torpedo Squadron VT-3 sinking after a water landing alongside the destroyer USS Monaghan (DD-354), ca. at 1305 hrs on 4 June 1942 during the Battle of Midway. Pilot Machinist Harry Lee Corl and his gunner Lloyd Fred Childers, ARM3c, were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) and had attacked the Japanese carrier Hiryu. “T-3” was heavily damaged by fighters and Corl had to jettison his torpedo but managed to reach Task Force 16. Only two of 12 VT-3 planes were not shot down, but the other two had to ditch. Corl himself was lost during the Battle of Eastern Solomons on 24 August 1942.

More about Pilot Machinist Harry Lee Corl…

More about Pilot Machinist Harry Lee Corl’s radio-operator…


The story of how Delmar Wiley, a Glenwood, IA native, who had been missing since August 24, 1942 and was thought to be lost was actually adrift on a rubber boat actually reached safety and care on an island in the Pacific. His experience seemed almost like a fairy tale to friends here in Iowa who had almost given up hope of his being alive. So remote seemed the chances! In August 1942, Ensign Harry Lee Corl, flying with Torpedo Squadron Three (VT-3) from USS Enterprise (CV-6), was the pilot of a TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. On 24 August 1942, he was flying a search mission near the Solomon Islands when he and another pilot spotted the Japanese heavy cruiser Tone. The position of the Tone was apparently reported to US Navy officials, but the report was not received due to technical problems. Following the transmission of their position report, Ensign Corl and his wingman began an attack on Tone. Soon after two Japanese Zero fighters attacked the American planes, and were quickly joined by a third Zero. Under attack by two of the Japanese fighters, Corl’s Avenger was shot down. Corl and one of his two gunners, AOM2 Thomas R Townsend (NSN:2387067) were killed in action. His radioman/turret gunner, Radioman Third Class Delmar D. Wiley, survived and, after 15 days in a life raft and months spent on islands behind Japanese lines, was rescued on 11 April 1943 by a PBY Catalina piloted by Robert B. Hays from VP-44. Corl, Townsend and Wiley were declared missing in action on 24 Aug 1942. Corl and Townsend were presumed dead on 25 August 1943.


I found the missing caption.

With his .30-caliber machine gun jammed, Aviation Radioman Third Class Lloyd Childers resorts to firing his pistol at Zero fighters swarming after his lumbering TBD Devastator torpedo bomber during the Battle of Midway.