Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  F-4A-1-LO Lightning Serial Number 41-2140  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

Click For Enlargement
Wrecks & Reefs 1994

Pilot  1st Lt. William W. Morton, O-439666 (MIA / KIA) VA
Crashed  March 16, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Constructors Number 5358. Converted from a E model into a F-4 photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On March 16, 1943 took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. William W. Morton on a photo reconnaissance mission over the Ramu Valley and Markham Valley. Morten radioed Port Moresby that he was "over the ranges". This was taken to mean that he was south of the Owen Stanley Mountain Ranges. No further broadcasts were heard. When Morton failed to return from the mission, he was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

In fact, this Lightning crashed due to unknown reasons into the sea northwest of Fishermans Island (Daugo Island) south of Port Moresby. The remains of the pilot have never been found.

Wreckage
This aircraft crashed upside down on a sandy bottom in roughly 10m of water. Wreckage includes one of the propellers, upside down wing and main landing gear with tire. During the early 1990s, this P-38 was discovered by SCUBA divers. The instrument panel was recovered from the wreckage which included the radio call sign, confirming serial number and constructors number.

Memorials
Morton was officially declared dead on March 17, 1944. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William W. Morton
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning 41-2140
Wrecks & Reefs pages 156 - 159
The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force pages 160
Thanks to Keith Hopper for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
September 26, 2018

 

Tech Info
F-4

SCUBA
10m

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

Photos
Photo Archive

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram