Lyttleton Ballard was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy on November 24, 1941. At the time both the Army and Navy were trying hard to recruit people with radio experience because of the introduction of radar. Lyttleton was well qualified having earned a college degree in electrical engineering and having been an amateur radio operator since 1931. In 1942, after training at Bowden College on fundamentals of ultra-high frequencies he went on to more advanced training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on radar. Graduates were assigned to ships and navy bases throughout the world and Lyttleton’s assignment was to Patrol Wing Four in the Aleutian Islands.
Lyttleton’s primary responsibility was to maintain the repair search radar sets installed in the PBY aircraft. He serviced all squadrons in PatWing Four between August 1942 and December 1943 proceeding from island to island in advance of the squadrons movements. His work was greatly appreciated and he received a letter of commendation for his service from Commodore Gehres. Photos, some memorabilia saved from the war and an interesting letter received some two years after it was mailed provide insights into the experiences of Lyttleton Ballard during WWII.
Did You Know?
A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.