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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. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 02566. Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to squadron VMF-214. No known nickname or nose art.

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, this Corsair was transfered to squadron VMF-218. No known nose art or nickname. Assigned to pilot 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 Espiritu 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 (Piva North Airfield) on Bougainville piloted by 2nd Lt. Jack G. Morris on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells on a bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul along with other escorting USN, USAAF and RNZAF fighters.

Over the target, Morris' plane was 'tail end Charlie' in the whole formation when he was shot down by an enemy fighter and wounded above his eye and momentarily passed out. Just before crashing, he awoke and managed to bail out.

Rescue
Morris landed safely in the jungle and spent the next eight days behind enemy lines, following a river towards the sea. When he reached the coast, he deployed his life raft and was spotted in the open sea and rescued by Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Catalina NZ4013 piloted by by Fg Off McGrane and returned to duty.

Wreckage
During 1990, this crash site was located by David Lindley east the Warangoi River. Later, Brian Bennett identified the wreckage as F4U Corsair 02566.

In December 1990, the wreckage was recovered from the crash site and placed on display outdoors 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.

Brian Bennett adds:
"There was a line of wreckage: two pieces part of the tail and part of the outer wing panel. 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."

During 1991, former pilot Jack G. Morris visited the Kokopo War Museum to see the wreckage of his aircraft on display.

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
April 23, 2018

 

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