Archibald "Graham" McIlwaine II
Archibald Graham McIlwaine II, son of Archibald Graham McIlwaine Jr. and Caroline Read McIlwaine, was born on March 27, 1921. In Rye his family lived on Upper Dogwood Lane and were members of Christ Church.
Graham's father graduated from Yale '18 and lettered in Ice Hockey and Crew. He served as a Naval Aviator in the First World War with the 217 Squadron from 1917 until the Armistice. He served at Moutchic and participated in several raids including the famous raid on Zeebrugge Mole. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions under fire. He passed away in 1929 leaving his wife Caroline and two sons Graham and John both under 10 years of age.
His mother Caroline was the daughter of William Augustus and Caroline S. Read. Caroline maintained a home on Long Island as well as Manhattan and, later after her marriage to Georges de Braux in 1932, lived in France. Her unexpected passing after a brief illness left the two boys without parents.
Graham and his brother John came to Rye to live with their Aunt and Uncle, Bayard and Edith Gwynne Reid of Upper Dogwood Lane. Bayard Read, brother of Caroline, worked for his fathers firm William A. Read Co. which became Dillon Read and Co. Edith Gwynne Read, an ardent conservationist who became a Rye City Councilwoman, lived in Rye for over 100 years having been raised at Bayberry Cove, the estate at 859 Forest Avenue.
The County-owned bird sanctuary on Manursing Island is named in her honor. The Gwynne-side of her family donated land behind 51 Milton for more than 40 Victory Gardens during the war years. The gardens ranged in size from 30 x 70 lots to acre plots meant for 10 families each.
Archibald Graham McIlwaine II graduated with Honors and was a star athlete at St. Georges School in Rhode Island and later attended Princeton University until the attack on Pearl Harbor, when he left in the middle of his junior year to enlist. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Lt. A. Graham McIlwaine II, upon leaving Princeton immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, enlisted as a Seaman Second Class 2/c and completed his Preliminary Training at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. He then was sent to the US Naval Aviator Base in Atlanta, Georgia for his Basic Flight Training and then to Jacksonville, Florida for his Advanced training whereupon, he was commissioned as a Naval Officer on Nov. 20, 1942.
Ensign A. Graham McIlwaine II was reported Missing in Action MIA on October 5, 1943. He was the Navigation Officer and Section Leader of the Squadron aboard the carrier
USS Cowpens. She sailed with Task Force 14 for the strike on Wake Island on 5–6 October 1943. Lt. McIlwaine was participating in the first large-scale carrier group attack on a Japanese held island, which constituted the start of our Pacific offensive.
His squadron, flying Grumman "Hellcats", had been assigned to go in with the first strike in the attack on Wake Island to strafe enemy installations and anti-aircraft defenses.
Graham Mcllwaine Now Presumed Dead
Word has recently been received from the Secretary of the Navy that Ensign Archibald Graham Mcllwaine, U.S.N.R., previously reported missing in action on October 5, 1943, is now presumed dead as of January 10, 1946.
Ensign Mcllwaine, who, until he enlisted immediately after Pearl Harbor, had made his home with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Bayard W. Read, on Upper Dogwood Lane, was a Navy fighter pilot aboard the Carrier, U.S.S. Cowpens.
At the time he was lost, he was participating in the first large-scale carrier group attack on a Japanese held island, which constituted the start of our Pacific offensive. His squadron, flying Grumman "Hellcats", had been assigned to go in with the first strike in the attack on Wake Island to strafe enemy installations and anti-aircraft defenses. He was navigation officer and a section leader of the squadron.
An athlete and honor student at St. George's School and Princeton, Mcllwaine was twenty years old when he left college in the middle of his junior year to start preliminary flight training at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn. He completed his training at Jacksonville and was commissioned as a naval aviator on November 20, 1942.
His brother, Ensign John Curtis Mcllwaine, who a year ago married Miss Deborah Packard of Bronxville, and who is now serving with the Navy in Japanese waters, is his only surviving immediate relative, His father, a Navy pilot in World War I, died in 1929 and his mother, the former Caroline H. Read, of Purchase, died in 1935.
Lt. Archibald Graham McIlwaine II plane did not return from the initial assault and he was listed as missing in action October 5, 1943. It would not be until January 10, 1946 that the Secretary of the Navy declared that he was presumed dead. At the time of his death he was 22 years old.
★ World War II Victory Medal★ Purple Heart★ Combat Action Ribbon★ United States Aviator Badge Navy★ American Campaign Medal★ Navy Presidential Unit Citation★ Navy Good Conduct Medal★ Navy Expeditionary Medal
Lt. Archibald Graham McIlwaine II
Born March 27, 1921
Died October 5, 1943 MIA
Presumed Dead January 10, 1946