Vernon Francis Kite enlisted in the Australian Navy which being short of vessels at the time transferred him to Small Ships. He was employed as Greaser on S-85 SS Masaya a WWI vintage destroyer ( formerly USS Dale DD-290) first christened in 1920. Late in March 1943 the Masaya was enroute to Oro Bay to pick up soldiers, occasionally escorted by a P-38 fighter providing air cover. About 6 miles from Oro Bay they were entertained by a flight of 18 enemy dive-bombers and 40 fighters sweeping into attack the Army installations ashore. Six bombs were dropped with three direct hits to the stern and three near misses. There were 11 fatalities among the crew, whilst the survivors were taken to Oro Bay. Vernon was transported to the 13th Base Hospital Townsville before being discharged, surviving another 46 years.
Below: Vernon with brothers George and Luke.