|Pilot Captain Jim Porter (survived)
Ditched November 4, 1942
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army as P-38F Lightning serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
On September 17, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group. In November 1942 assigned to the 17th
Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) re-formed at Amberley Field until disbanded during late December 1942 or early January 1943.
On November 4, 1942 one of seven P-38s that took off from Amberley Field this aircraft was piloted by Captain Jim Porter on a ferry flight bound for Port Moresby flying via Horn Island Airfield. The formation included seven P-38s plus a B-25 Mitchell.
After landing at Horn Island Airfield to refuel, the formation took off again. After take off, the right engine of this P-38 failed. Unable to release his drop tanks, Porter made a steep turn and ditched into the sea 500 yards off Horn Island (Ngurapai) halfway between King Point Quarry and bottom of Horn Island Airfield no. 1 runway. Porter was unhurt in the ditching.
Immediately, Porter was rescued by a
launch and transported to Horn Island.
Afterwards, this P-38 was towed from the sea onto King Point beach using a truck and salvaged and stripped by an Australian Repair Salvage Unit (RSU).
Keith Hopper adds:
"I have a photocopy of a photograph of Porter's P-38 on the beach being stripped by Australians (RSU), they used a blitz truck to tow it up onto the beach."
NAA "No. 28 Operational Base Unit (RAAF) at Horn Island" November 4-5, 1942
"November 4, 1942 - 1400 hours B-25 and 8 P-38’s left for Moresby [their arrival at Horn Is is not mentioned], took off from No. 2 runway. One P-38 starboard engine cut out over King Point, made a steep turn and went into sea 500 yards off shore halfway between King Point Quarry and bottom of No. 1 runway. Pilot picked up OK by rescue launch. All aircraft returned to Horn Island. Attempted salvage P-38.
November 5, 1942 -
0945 B-25 and 7 P-38’s departed. P-38 taken to King Point beach, required next hightide to complete beaching."
39th Fighter Squadron Diary - November 6, 1942
"Douglas, Rauch and six strangers brought up eight ships to replace the ones we almost sent to Guadalcanal."
The location of the ditching was not given in records.
Thanks Keith Hopper and Edward Rogers for additional information.
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September 25, 2018