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  P-38H-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 42-66909  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

Pilot ┬áCaptain Charles K. Taylor, Jr., O-432268 (POW, survived) MS
Crashed  December 23, 1943 at 1:30pm
MACR  1070

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Constructors Number 1417. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V-1710-89 and -1710-91 serial numbers 42-94803 and 42-29926. Armament: 50 caliber machine guns 411921, 378632, 412005, 397608 and 20mm cannon serial number 116635.

Mission History
On December 23, 1943 took off from Schwimmer Drome (14 Drome) near Port Moresby pilot Captain Charles K. Taylor, Jr. on a mission to escort a F-4 Lighting piloted by Lt. Vincent E. Murphy on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Rabaul and Simpson Harbor. The escort included this aircraft and P-38H Lightnig piloted by Horatio L. Holton.

Over the target at 26,000', the F-4 Lightning piloted by Lt. Murphy began taking photos and became separated from the two escorting Lightnings. Murphy then made a photo run over Rapopo Airfield and radioed his escorts to join him. After completing the run, Murphy's aircraft had some additional exposures remaining and made another photographic run over Simpson Harbor.

Departing the target, Murphy observed six Zeros climbing from 17,000' towards them and notified the escorts. The Zeros continued to gain on them, and Taylor radioed Murphy to accelerate. Lt. Holton became separated and headed back to Port Moresby alone.

Taylor was last observed in formation with Murphy at 26,000' at 260 mph on a course of 220┬░ roughly 40 miles away from Rabaul. The two pilots were in radio contact. Believing Taylor was still with him, Murphy switched off his radio, because there was other traffic on the same channel. When he realized Taylor was not in his blind spot, he called for him on the radio, but recieved no answer.

Fates of the Crew
Taylor survived unhurt and was captured by the Japanese and transported to Rabaul. Detained as a Prisoner Of War (POW) by the 81st Naval Guard Unit.

On February 17, 1944 Taylor was one of six Allied prisoners transported aboard a G4M1 Betty bomber from Rabaul to Truk, and then onward to Japan. He then became a prisoner at Omori POW Camp near Tokyo until the end of the war. He survived captivity and postwar returned to the United States.

References
Missing Air Crew Report 1070 (MACR 1070)
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Charles Kerse Taylor
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-38 Lightning 42-66909

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Last Updated
September 26, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38

POW / MIA
POW
1 Prisoner
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