HOPEDALE - May 12  - The horror of war and its frightful consequence became a stern reality
to the entire community last night when the sad news was received of the killing on May 8,
"somewhere in the Far East," of Lowell K. Hammond, 26, machine gunner on a light bomber, and
son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon R. Hammond, 8 Union Street.
The boy, the first war victim in this immediate section lost his life "in action" and "in defense of his
country." The action is presumed to have taken place in Australia as Hammond was last heard from
by his mother eight weeks ago when he wrote her that he had arrived there after a safe voyage.
The message concerning the hero's death was received from the War Department last night just
24 hours after the announcement that reached Milford concerning the wounding of Lt. George T.
Trudell and Seaman Mesag Manoogian of that town, and also the fact that their names had been
placed on the Navy casualty list.
The news of the fatality caused quite a stir here and spread rapidly. Many friends called at the
Hammond home during the evening to express sympathy to the mother and other members of the
The telegram, signed by Adjt. Gen. Ulison, was as follows: "The Secretary of War desires me to
express deep regret that your son, Lowell K. Hammond, was killed in action in defense of his
country in the Far East on May 8. Letter follows."
Lowell Knight Hammond was a machine gunner in the 13th Light Bombardment squad and
enlisted in December 1940. He was visiting his parents at the time of the Pearl Harbor disaster,
Dec. 7, 1941, and received orders to report to his base at once. Later his mother received news of
his safe arrival in Australia.
The deceased was born in Hopedale, Dec. 11, 1915, son of Leon R. and Flora Messinger
Hammond. He graduated from the high school in 1936 and from Stockbridge Agricultural school
two years later. At the time he enlisted he was employed as florist assistant at the Whitney
greenhouses, Northboro. He was a member of the Unitarian Church and past president of the
Wilson Guild. He was a member of the cross-country team at the high school and was popular and
highly esteemed by everyone.
At the time the message was received Mr. Hammond was not at home and did not learn of his
son's death until late last night. In addition to parents he is survived by two brothers, Robert and
Freeman. Milford Daily News
Corporal Previous to Fatal Battle
HOPEDALE, May 21  - Mr. and Mrs. Leon R. Hammond, parents of Machine Gunner Lowell K.
Hammond, who was killed in action May 8, presumably near Australia in a bomber fight with the
enemy, have received a letter written by their son just previous to the battle and have been advised
from the War Department concerning the burial of the hero's body.
Machine Gunner Hammond wrote that he had been promoted to corporal, and that he had good
times, and others not so good since landing in the Far East. He added that he hoped to eventually
find his way back to Hopedale when the conflict ended.
The message from the War Department was to the effect that the boy had been given a suitable
burial and that the body could not be disturbed until after the duration. Milford Daily News
HOPEDALE, July 31  - Mr. and Mrs. Leon R. Hammond have been advised by the War
Department that their son, Lowell K. Hammond, who was killed in action May 8, last, had been
given unusual honors. He has been given the silver star and purple heart.
A copy of the communication is given below:
By direction of the President, Corporal Lowell K. Hammond is hereby awarded (posthumously) the
"Silver Star" for gallantry in action during the performance of a flight against an armed enemy.
Corporal Hammond, a gunner on a B-25C airplane on a reconnaissance mission in the New
Guinea area on May 7, 1942 fought off a persistent attack by a Zero type enemy plane. The attack
lasted 45 minutes and during the action Corporal Hammond was severely wounded but kept firing
at the Japanese plane.
The spirit exemplified by Corporal Hammond and his determination to carry out his duties although
wounded is in keeping with the finest combat standard of the Army force.
By direction of the President, Corporal Lowell K. Hammond is hereby awarded the "Purple Heart"
for the performance of a singularly meritorious act of essential service.
Corporal Hammond, who was an excellent gunner, was killed in a crash landing of a B-25 Medium
Bomber which was forced down by severe damage inflicted by enemy Zero fighters. It has been
definitely established that prior to the crash of the airplane Corporal Hammond carried on his
duties in a determined and aggressive manner and displayed an unusual amount of courage
although severely wounded. The crash occurred at Port Moresby, New Guinea on May 8, 1942.
Milford Daily News
HOPEDALE, Sept. 30  - The purple heart and silver star, awarded to Corp. Lowell K.
Hammond, the first boy from this immediate vicinity to give his life for his country in the present war,
have been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leon R. Hammond.
Corp. Hammond was killed in action May 8, last, in New Guinea and the awards were made for
gallantry in action and for performance of a "singularly meritorious act of essential service." Both
citations bear the name of Corp. Hammond and are handsomely inscribed.
They are highly prized by his parents, whose intention is to place them on exhibition for a brief
period in one of the town's store windows. They are certain that friends of their son who was one of
the town's most beloved young men will be interested in seeing them, the proofs of his bravery.
A striking coincidence in connection with the receipt of the citations is the fact that a few days after
they arrived, Mrs. Hammond received a letter from Sec. Lt. Francis Wallace of the Air Corps,
stationed in New Guinea. "Fran" Wallace knew "Bud" Hammond well (they were in high school
together, graduating one year apart) and, according to his letter, one of Wallace's first acts upon
reaching the base was to learn all the facts possible concerning his death.
He found his name at the top of the honor roll. He learned that Corp. "Bud," though seriously
wounded in his right hand, kept firing with his left until the plane crashed in a jungle. The pilot,
surviving the crash, went into the jungle at great personal sacrifice and brought Hammond's body
out and the hero was accorded full military burial. He closed the letter by stating that he would write
again and if he was fortunate enough to come back home he would have more news for Mrs.
Hammond. He wrote, "We are doing OK here. Don't let anyone tell you differently, Yours, Fran."
[Wallace didn't get back home. He was killed in the war, also. The National Honor Society at
Hopedale Junior/Senior High School is named for him.]
Thus it happens that Mr. and Mrs. Hammond received not two citations, but three, the third being
that of acknowledgement of their son's gallant fighting spirit from one of his pals. Milford Daily News
Rev. JB Hollis Tegarden, pastor of the Hopedale Unitarian church, has the following tribute in the
parish calendar for Lowell K. Hammond, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon R. Hammond of Hopedale, killed
in action recently in the Far East in defense of his country.
Lowell K. Hammond, 14 years of perfect attendance in our Sunday school, one-time teacher in our
Sunday school, president of our Wilson Guild, and president of the Worcester Federation Y.P.R.U;
co-chairman of a summer Rowe camp, twice a leader in Young People's Sunday in the church,
giver of flowers in the church every year in memory of Darwin Draper, died in action that we might
His parents and brothers who are such good Christian soldiers, bearing nobly and wisely their
cross, have set a wonderful example to all whose children or relatives may be killed in the war.
Lowell, a good, religious young man, is now in the hands of God. We'll keep his living memory in
our hearts and for his sake never complain again about any sacrifice we have to make for the war
effort, remembering that he made the supreme sacrifice.
The church will be decorated Sunday by Leslie Wheeler in memory of Lowell K. Hammond, first
victim of the present war from this section. Milford Daily News
Robert "Zeke" Hammond Hammond Road
War Veterans' Menu HOME
Co-Pilot Lt. Donald E. Anderson (survived)
Bombardier Sgt. Joseph A. Gerchow
Gunner Cpl Lowell A. Anderson (KIA) SD
Gunner Cpl Lowell K. Hammond, 11009288 (KIA) MA
Crashed May 8, 1942
Pilot Leland A. Walker was nicknamed "Sonny". He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for
this mission and his efforts to save the crew.
Built by North American. Assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron on
April 22, 1942. No known nose art or nickname. This aircraft was officially condemned on November
During a reconnaissance mission over Lae. This bomber was attacked by a Zero, which put the left
engine out of action, and damaged the hydraulic system which minimized the effectiveness of the
bendix turret. Returning to Port Moresby, the bomber made a crash landing of shore on Fishermans
Island [crashed prior to airfield being built there].
Pilot Walker suffering bad burns in the crash and was unable to save his gunners. One gunner died
in the crash landing, another died in the hospital the same day.
After the crash, members of the squadron visited this wreck and removed components and guns.
Today, wreckage still remains on the island, heavily scrapped includes the engines, landing gear
legs and other smaller bits of the aircraft.
Justin Taylan adds:
"I visited this wreckage, although not impressive, it is a very historic aircraft wreck."
Hammond is buried at Plot B Row 0 Grave 954 at Hawaii National Cemetery (Punchbowl).
Anderson is buried at Bluff View Cemetery, Vermillion, South Dakota
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Walt Houghton for additional information
FindAGrave - Lowell A. Anderson (photo)
Cpl. Hammond's Silver Star and Purple Heart.
|Lowell Hammond Killed In Action
In the Far East
Loses Life "In the Defense of His Country,"
Mother Advised by Telegram Last Night
Father Absent When Message Arrived