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  F-4-1-LO Lightning Serial Number A55-3  
RAAF
1 PRU
Former Assignments
USAAF

Click For Enlargement
AWM Feb. 27, 1943

Click For Enlargement
Walker c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Construction Number 5340. Delivered to the U. S. Army as a P-38E Lightning serial number 41-2144 on January 1, 1942. Converted from a P-38E Lightning into a F4-1 photographic reconnaissance version by March 13, 1942.

On April 7, 1942 received at Long Beach, California. On April 13, 1942 received at Windsor Locks, CT. On April 29, 1942 received at Felts Field at Spokane, WA. On May 5, 1942 departed Felts Field. On April 25, 1942 received at Dallas, TX. On June 11, 1942 received at Lowry Field. On July 2, 1942 received at Scott Field then on July 27, 1942 returned to Lowry Field. On August 2, 1942 received by Colorado Springs then on November 2, 1942 received at San Francisco. Disassembled and shipped overseas to "Sumac" Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (PRS). Squadron Nose Number "44" (last two digits of the serial number). No known nickname or nose art.

On February 27, 1943 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Lockheed Lightning serial number A55-3. Repainted in a RAAF camouflage scheme of dark earth, dark green with sky blue under surfaces. Allocated to 1 PRU at Eagle Farm Airfield. Next assigned to Coomalie Creek Airfield to pilot by F/L C.C. Lawrie.

On March 21, 1943 piloted by Talberg on a photographic reconnaissance over Penfoei four five hours. By the end of March 1943, it was unserviceable with faulty intercoolers and then repaired.

On March 16, 1943 took off from Eagle Farm Airfield piloted by F/Lt. C.C. Lawrie on a flight to Coomalie Creek Airfield.

Returning to combat, it flew a mission on April 18, 1943 piloted by Flt Lt P. B. Sinnott over Penfoei (5 hours). Next, April 20, 1943 piloted by Lt C.C. Lawrie on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Penfoei (4.40hrs). On April 21, 193 pilot Flt Lt W. H. S. Talberg on a photographic reconnaissance over Dili (4.15hrs). By the end of the month, unserviceable again with leaking intercoolers and was repaired.

On May 11, 1943 made a survey flight of Portuguese Timor piloted by Flt Lt W.H.S. Talberg, but the weather was unsuitable. On May 13, 1943 staged through Groote Eylandt Airfield for a survey of Frederick Henry Island and area, but weather unsuitable.

On May 15, 1943 took off from Coomalie Creek Airfield piloted by Sqn Ldr C.C. Lawrie on a flight to Groote Eylandt Airfield. On May 16, 1943 made a survey of Frederick Henry Island and the surrounding area, but weather was unsuitable. On May 19, 1943 returned to Coomalie Creek Airfield.

On May 22, 1943 survey of Kai Island flown by Flt Lt W.H.S. Talberg. Recalled due unsuitable weather. On May 24, 1943 piloted by Lt F. Robilliard on a mission over Portuguese Timor with poor weather. Finally on May 29, 1943 piloted by Sqn Ldr C. C. Lawrie on a photographic reconnaissance over Penfoei.

On August 22, 1943, received by 14 ARD for 240 hour inspection. On September 14, 1943 received by 1 PRU. On September 20, 1943 issued to the 5th Air Force at Eagle Farm Airfield and repaired. On October 26, 1943 repairs were completed and on November 1, 1943 returned to 1 PRU.

Mission History
On December 10, 1943 took off piloted by F/Lt. Philip Bruce Sinnott, 250837 on a mission and made a force landing at Batchelor Field with the undercarriage retracted. The pilot escaped but the aircraft was extensively damaged in the subsequent fire. Three days later, it was received by 4 RSU and on December 26th received by 14 ARD on January 10, 1944 it was approved for conversion to components. Scrapped sometime afterwards.

Display
Since November 1989, part of this Lightning is displayed at Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (Darwin Aviation Museum).

References
RAAF Aircraft Status Card - Lockheed Lighting A55-3 [PDF] incorrectly list this aircraft as U. S. Army Air Force serial number 41-2122. This was another aircraft F-4 Lightning 41-2122.
RAAF Air Member for Supply and Equipment to No 5 Maintenance Group document 4 August 1943 lists serial numbers of Lockheed Lightnings received by the RAAF as "41/2144 [this aircraft], 2158 and 2159".
AWM Photo P00448.148
AWM Photo P00727.004
ADF Serials - Lockheed Lightning A55-3
ADF Serials - Lighting A55-3 Photo Album
The Lockheed File - 44 Reasons to be Confused mentions 41-2144 / A55-3 versus 41-2122
The Lockheed File - Lockheed F-4-1-LO Lightning 41-2144 / A55-3
The Lockheed File - A55-1, A55-2, A55-3
World War Two Nominal Roll - Philip Bruce Sinnott
Thanks to Ron Cuskelly, Gordon Birkett, Terence Geary and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
March 1, 2018

 

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F-4

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