Saving Lieutenant Moutray
On the 07th January 1945, (the day prior to the escape of Captain Clark & Lt Haas) Lt Kelly Ricardo Moutray (27 years old) was flying a solo ferrying assignment in a Lockheed P-38J Lightning. The assignment was departing from RAF Warton (at the time referred to USAF 582) destined for Beachy Head (known as A-42). At the time of the flight, the weather conditions were poor, with rain and snow. The last know contact with Lt Moutray was with the ground crew at USAF 582 and likely due to the poor weather conditions Lt Moutray got lost and missed his destination, eventually ending up flying across the English channel crossing over Jersey.
Lt Kelly Richard Moutray’s registration card
Lt Moutray’s intended flight plan
At around 5pm thinking he was flying over the Isle of Wight Lt Moutray brought his plane down to signal his intent to land, however anti-aircraft positions, likely between the airport and St Brelades opened fire on his aircraft. Eye witness claim to have seen the aircraft in flames before it eventually crashed into the cliffs close to St Brelades Bay Hotel. Lt Moutray managed to parachute out, landing in the sea. Lt Moutray managed to swim and hang onto a set of rocks but was unable to pull himself out of the frigid ocean water due to rough seas and the weight of his equipment. On the 19th January 1945, the following missing air crew report was filled.
Lt Moutray’s Missing Air Crew Report
St Brelades Bay Church
John De La Haye (18 Years old) was working as an apprentice at La Baule, on the Portlet Headland had witnessed the plane crashing and saw the parachute open. He made his way to the beach and grabbed a paddle float and paddled out the downed airmen. As the float hadn’t been used in years it began to disintegrate, so instead of battling the tide Mr De la Haye decided to it was best to wait for a change in the tide before trying to get back to the beach. However a German Sergeant also jumped into the sea on another paddle float, which ended up disintegrating.
John Phillip De La Haye’s Registration Card Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Eventually a lifeboat managed to rescue Lt Moutray, who was taken to the Hospital with an injured foot. On the 12th January Mr De La Haye and Lt Moutray where reunited for a handshake before Lt Moutray was taken to a PoW camp.
For his selfless actions John De La Haye was awarded the Medal of Freedom, an award created by President Eisenhower and awarded to some 20,000 non military personal and mainly non US for their bravery during WW2. Mr De La Haye also received a commendation in the London Gazette.
Mr De La Haye receiving the Medal of Freedom
Very little records exist about Mr De La Haye’s life after the war. He passed away on the 13th February 2005 and has a memorial in St Brelades Church.
John De La Haye’s memorial plaque
Lt Mourtay enlisted in the US army in July 1944 and was discharged in Mar 1950. He passed away on the 5th Jul 1975 and is buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
Lt Moutray's Gravestone