Today’s post is written by David Langbart, Archivist at the National Archives at College Park.
The previous post described the Battle of the Coral Sea, included a transcript of portions of the log of the USS Lexington describing the action on May 8 1942, and included images of the entire log for that day.
The following photographs were taken by unidentified Navy photographers during the May 8 action. They provide a graphic portrayal of the events described in the Log.
In his battle report, Captain Sherman wrote:
The picture of the burning and doomed ship was a magnificent but sad sight. The ship and crew had performed gloriously and it seemed too bad that she had to perish in her hour of victory. But she went to a glorious end, more fitting than the usual fate of the eventual scrap heap or succumbing to the perils of the sea. She went down in battle, after a glorious victory for our forces in which the LEXINGTON and her air group played so conspicuous a part.
Despite the damage suffered by the Lexington, only about 216 of her crew died; about 2735 survived. All losses were the result of air combat of the air group or torpedo and bomb hits and fire on board; no member of the crew drowned during evacuation of the ship.
NEXT: Battle Report
Source: The photographs are enclosures to LEXINGTON, Serial 0100, May 15, 1942, World War II Action and Operational Reports (NAID 305236), Record Group 38: Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.