|Pilot 1st Lt. Victor R. Talbot, O-416918 (MIA / KIA) San Diego, CA
MIA May 4, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 35th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On May 4, 1942 one of four P-39s that took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Talbot on a mission over over Lae Airfield. The formation included three Airacobras from the 35th Fighter Squadron including this aircraft plus P-39D 41-6956 piloted by 2nd Lt.
Charles Schwimmer, P-39D 41-6825 piloted by 1st Lt. Jeff D. Hooker Jr. The fourth aircraft was P-39D 41-6971 piloted by 1st Patrick M. Armstrong, Jr. from the 36th Fighter Squadron.
All four Airacobras failed to return and were presumed lost due to poor weather. When this aircraft failed to return, this aircraft was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). This Airacobra was officially condemned on October 31, 1944.
Fate of the Pilot
The fate of Talbot is unknown, he remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day. According to his relatives, on November 21, 1942 a Japanese radio broadcast mentioned "Raymond Talbot" (Raymond was his middle name) as a Japanese Prisoner Of War (POW). His cousin in the United States reported hearing his name mentioned in a list of POWs on a Japanese broadcast informed his wife, Lena, who tried in vain to get more details about his disappearance from the government. At present, there is no evidence in official POW lists that Talbot was a Prisoner Of War, but lists of Allied prisoners detained by the Japanese are not complete for those captured in New Guinea. It is possible he was detained by the Japanese but did not survive captivity or the Pacific War.
Talbot was officially declared dead on December 14, 1945. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Talbot earned the Air Medal and Purple Hear, posthumously. At San Diego State University (SDSU) the street "Talbot Court" is named after Victor R. Talbot, class of 1940.
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NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records Victor R Talbot
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) Victor R. Talbot (201 File)
Missing Air Crew Report 16440 (MACR 16440) was created retroactively and covers 3 pilots in the same report: [P-39F 41-7145] Talbot, [P-39F 41-7207] Chivers and [P-39D 41-6825] Hooker. This report has a number of errors. Talbot and Hooker were lost on a fighter sweep over Lae Airfield on the north coast of New Guinea. The report does not list P-39D 41-6956 piloted by 2nd Lt.
Charles Schwimmer who also flew this mission and was lost and is the subject of MACR 10060. The report states Talbot, Chivers and Hooker were "attacking enemy bombers & fighters over Seven Mile Airdrome Port Moresby N.G." incorrectly. Only Chivers was lost on that mission which was a different sortie flown May 4, 1942.
Missing Air Crew Report 16438 (MACR 16438) pages 5-7
Page 5: "Subject: Determination of Status under Public Law 490, as amended.
4. The AG 201 files and the Casualty Branch 201 files contain nothing pertinent to the determination of the status of Lieutenants Chivers and Hooker. In the case of Lieutenant Talbot, his AG 201"
Page 6: (Page Two) "file contains a letter from his wife dated January 6, 1943, addressed to the Adjutant General, which quotes certain statements made by her father-in-law in the letter to her. It appears from the letter that a cousin of Mrs. Talbot's father-in-law was listening to a Japanese broadcast on November 21, 1942 and that she became aware of the name Raymond Talbot as being on a prisoner's list. No rank, location or home address was given on the broadcast.
7. None of the reports received show them [Talbot, Chivers and Hooker] to be dead, returned to duty, or prisoners of war, except that in the case of Lieutenant Talbot there is a hearsay statement that a Raymond Talbot is a Prisoner Of War of the Japanese Government. The records of the PMGO do not contain the name of Victor R. Talbot."
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list Victor Talbot as a POW
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
- Victor R. Talbot
FindAGrave - 1Lt Victor R Talbot (photo, tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Talbot
Attack & Conquer pages 47, 310
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 58-59
Supreme Sacrifice, Extraordinary Service: Profiles of SDSU Military Alumni pages 57, 63, 166
Page 57: "Victor Raymond Talbot - As a student in 1940 1st Lt. Victor R. Talbot was on the Rally Committee and was a member of Delta Pi Beta fraternity. He was declared missing in action after engaging enemy bombers and fighters in the vicinity of Port Moresby, New Guinea, on May 4, 1942, the day the Battle of the Coral Sea commenced. Six months later a cousin who thought he heard Victor’s name mentioned in a list of POWs on a Japanese broadcast informed his wife, Lena, who tried in vain to get more details about his disappearance from the government. Known for his brave exploits, an airfield in New Guinea was named in his honor. Victor, age 24, was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart."
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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February 4, 2018