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  P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra Serial Number 42-19943  
5th AF
6th PRG
25th PRS

Pilot  Lt. Richard "Dick" Shipway (survived)
Crashed  December 27, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 25th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On December 27, 1943 took off from Townsville at 9:00 on a ferry flight bound for for Port Moresby. Landed at Cooktown Airfield at 10:30. After refueling, took off at 1045 bound for Port Moresby. Due to a fuel selector valve malfunction, he ran out of fuel over northern Queensland.

Fate of the Pilot
Shipway parachuted from the aircraft at 5,000' and was later rescued by some Australian soldiers of the 26th Australian Infantry Battalion (AMF-AIF). The 26th Battalion were often sent on search parties for downed aircraft in the Cape York area. Lieutenant Eric Hammet lead this successful search party which brought Dick Shipway back.

Warren B. Turner adds:
"Pilot Lt. Shipway, and was rescued from the beach by an Australian Infantry patrol from the 26th Battalion, stationed at Jacky Jacky. My dad was one of the men in this patrol. They got the pilot back to Jacky Jacky in time for the New Years eve party at the Officer's Mess."

The P-39 came to rest in a sand dune area, a mile or so inland from False Orford Ness at about 11 degrees 13 minutes south. Dick stated: "Amazingly, it was intact except for a bent prop." Roughly 9 miles north of Hunter Point.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

11° 13' S
142°  30'

Cape York Adventure

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