USS Lexington: Wreck of Second World War aircraft carrier found in Coral Sea after 76 years

Aircraft from the ship appear remarkably well preserved with squadron insignia and visible kill markings

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Tuesday 06 March 2018 14:04
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USS Lexington: Wreck of Second World War aircraft carrier found in Coral Sea after 76 years

Wreckage from the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier sank during the Second World War, has been found by search team led by the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen.

Known as the "Lady Lex", the ship was found at a depth of 3,000m below the surface of the Coral Sea, more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.

The team shared photos of the carrier taken by their search vessel, the RV Petrel, which also showed aircraft that appeared remarkably well preserved.

They bore the five-pointed star insignia of the US Army Air Forces on their wings and fuselage.

The squadron's "Felix the Cat" insignia and markings denoting four kills could also be seen on the fighters, naval journalist Chris Cavas noted in a tweet.

The USS Lexington sank during the Battle of the Coral Sea, fought between 4-8 May, 1942 and the first ever between aircraft carriers. More than 200 crew members died.

Critically damaged by Japanese torpedos and bombs, the decision was taken to scuttle the ship and it was deliberately sunk by another US warship.

Nearly 2,800 crewmen were rescued by other US vessels before this took place.

“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honour,” Mr Allen said in a blog post about the find. “As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.”

The USS Lexington was found at a depth of 3,000m below the surface of the Coral Sea, more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia
The squadron's fighters appeared remarkably well preserved 
The aircraft carrier was critically damaged by Japanese torpedos and bombs during the Battle of the Coral Sea

The head of the US Pacific Command, Navy Admiral Harry Harris Jr, added: “As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel for locating the 'Lady Lex,' sunk nearly 76 years ago at the Battle of Coral Sea.

“We honour the valour and sacrifice of the 'Lady Lex’s' Sailors — all those Americans who fought in World War II — by continuing to secure the freedoms they won for all of us.”

Mr Allen's team previously discovered several other Second World War wrecks, including the USS Indianapolis and the Japanese battleship Musashi.

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