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  F4U-1 Corsair Bureau Number 02566  
USMC
MAG 11
VMF-218

Former Assignment
VMF-214

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Painting by Morris
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Jack Morris
1991
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Justin Taylan
2000
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Phil Bradley 2001

Pilot  2nd Lt. Jack G. Morris, O-25665 (survived) Ridgefield, WA
Crashed  February 10, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. This aircraft was initially assigned to VMF-214.

Bruce Gamble reports: "According to Maj. Henry Miller (flight officer during VMF-214 Black Sheep's second tour) records, and 02566 was flown on one day by Ed Harper. It was flown on a fighter sweep over Rabaul on December 23, 1943 and returned to base. That was the only time the plane was in the VMF-214 rotation during that tour, from the records."

Afterwards, transfered to VMF-218. No known nose art or nickname. Assigned to 2nd Lt. Jack G. Morris.

Jack G. Morris adds:
"On the way to combat zone on January 31 I flew an old rehab with birdcage canopy on ferry hop 600 miles from Espirito Santo to Guadalcanal, gladly left it in the fighter pool at Henderson. It backfired whenever I throttled back, made me nervous. Its was F4U Corsair 02566."

Mission History
On February 10, 1944 took off Piva Uncle to escort B-25's bombing Vunakanaua Airfield near Rabaul along with other USN, USAAF and RNZAF fighters. Over the target, Morris' plane was 'tail end charlie' in the whole formation, attacked by a fighter, he was shot down and wounded above the eye, and passed out. Just before crashing, he came to, and bailed out.

Rescue
Morris spent eight days behind enemy lines, as he made his way out of the jungle and followed a river to towards the sea. He was then rescued in his life raft in the open sea by RNZAF PBY Catalina NZ4013 piloted by by Fg Off McGrane.

Wreckage
In 1990, the wreckage of this F4U was located by David Lindley east the Warangoi River. The wreckage was identified by Brian Bennett.

During December 1990, the wreckage was recovered from the crash site and placed on display at the Kokopo War Museum. The wreckage was put on display as it had been discovered with nothing removed, restored or changed. The wreckage includes .50 caliber ammunition and twisted metal that makes it an interesting presentation a WWII relic.

During 1991, former pilot Jack G. Morris visited the wreckage at the museum.

Brian Bennett adds:
"There was a line of wreckage: two pieces part of the tail and part of the outer wing pannel. He must have touched the jungle on his way down, and the plane had impacted the jungle once before it crashed further up the hill. Morris said his canopy was covered in oil as he was coming in. I surmise he was probably upside down when he bailed out, and the aircraft crashed. He was seconds between life and death."

References
One Angel Left by Jack Morris tells the story of his crash & escape
RNZAF 6 Squadron Diary - February 18, 1944
"On the same day a fighter pilot who had been shot down 8 days previously was rescued from open sea by Fg Off McGrane and crew".

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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