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By Michael J. Taylor

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Apart from a minor 'hiccup' in the starboard engine, caused by an over-lean fuel mixture that was soon corrected, no further problems were encountered. 15 on the morning of 29 November, dropping the flags of the United States (weighted by a stone from Flosd Bennett's grave). Great Britain. Norway and France. On the return flight, with their headwinds now transformed into tailwinds. they were able to outrun a snowstorm and touch down at the auxiliary depot to refuel. Within an hour they had taken off again, and arrived back in Little America less than 19 hours after they had left.

That same night the Japanese carriers Shokaku and Zuikakii of the strike force approached and then headed for the Japanese invasion transport fleet. As soon as it was realized quite how close the US carriers were, the invasion fleet was turned away and Port Moresby reprieved. But this was just the Below Jimmy' Shokaku. leaving it US 1 on Tokyo. Nagoya. Yokohama. Yokosuka and Kobe on 18 April 1942. the North American B-25 Mitchells flying from USS Hornet. (US Air Force) Onthe7th,US aircraft found and sank the carrier Shoho of the invasion force.

Britain, France and Italy fielded aircraft, the British Supermarine Sea Lion II biplane flying-boat being specially prepared by the company's young designer, Reginald J. Mitchell, from the earlier Sea King Mk II. Chosen to fly the Sea Lion II was Supermarine's chief test pilot, Henri Biard, who had recorded a very impressive speed of 150 mph in the aircraft before it was dismantled for transit to Naples. By then it was known that the French had withdrawn. Astutely, Biard did not demonstrate the Sea Lion's full potential during the pre-contest flight testing.

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