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  A-20G-30-DO "Lady Constance" Serial Number 43-9628 Tail A
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
388th BS

Former Assignments
417th BG

Pilot  2nd Lt. Joseph Gibbons (survived)
Gunner  Cpl Orville Rhodes
(survived)
Force Landed  April 16, 1944 'Black Sunday' at 5:00pm

Aircraft History
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 417th Bombardment Group. During March 1944, transferred to the 312th Bombardment Group, 388th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Lady Constance" tail letter A. Assigned to pilot Gibbons with crew chief Herman.

Mission History
On April 16, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield on a mission against Hollandia.  Returning from the mission, this aircraft had been lagging behind due to an erratic engine, using up extra fuel. When Gibbons reached a weather front, he circled a clearing and force landed there when his left engine ran out of fuel and the A-20 crashed into a ridge.  In the crash landing, the right engine was torn from its mount and both crew slightly wounded, and camped near the wreck.

Fate of the Crew
On April 17, 1944 the crew were spotted by P-38s searching for downed planes. Next, a L-5 piloted by Sgt James the 25th Liaison Squadron "Guinea Short Lines" spotted a flare fired by Gibbons. Before departing, he dropped medical supplies and rations, but the crew on the ground failed to locate them. At 4:00pm, they were informed to stay at the crash site by a note dropped from another L-5.

Australian soldiers attempted to reach the site from Musak, but encountered retreating Japanese. Instead, they were asked to clear a landing strip by burning a clearing in the nearby kunai grass. An L-4 piloted by Lockwood attempted to visit them, but met bad weather and returned in the afternoon to survey the strip.

Four days after the crash, on the morning of April 20, an L-5 piloted by T/Sgt Allen Lockwood landed at 15:30 on the crude strip, but was unable to take off until the following day due to the wet ground and rough strip evacuating Gibbons. The next day, Lockwood returned to rescue Rhodes.

Wreckage
Crashed near Wabusarik not far from the crash site of A-20G "Hell'N Pelican II" 42-86786

During October 1984, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attempted to recover the left engine, but lost its left when it was cut loose from the sling. During November 1985, the remainder of the aircraft was salvaged by the RAAF.

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-20G Havoc 43-9628
Black Sunday page 97
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 104, 106, 198 (photo), 361

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
A-20
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