|Pilot 2nd Lt. William P. Plain (KIA, BR) Cleveland, OH
Crashed May 18, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. This Airacobra was either an early model P-39 Airacobra or a P-400 Airacobra. Delivered to the U. S. Army, serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 40th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On May 18, 1942 took off from Antil Plains Airfield near Townsville on a flight and crashed into the sea. Plain was killed and his body was later recovered.
Recovery of Remains
On May 24, 1942 Plain's body washed ashore near Townsville and was recovered.
Plain was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was buried on May 25, 1942 at the U. S. Military Cemetery at Townsville. Postwar, he was transported to the United States for permanent burial on March 10, 1948 at Arlington National Cemetery at section 12, site 5089. Plain also has a memorial marker at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, OH at section 1, Shaw Memorial.
News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) June 8, 1942, page 7
"Killed in plane crash:
CLEVELAND --(lNS)-- Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Plain today mourned the death of their son, Second Lieutenant William P. Plain, 23, who was reported killed in an airplane accident in Australia."
Oz@War - US Military Cemetery Townsville Located at Belgian Gardens, Townsville
FindAGrave - William Paul Plain (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Plain (memorial marker)
40th Fighter / Flight Test Squadron Associate "WWII Honor Roll" via Wayback Machine July 23, 2008
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 140 incorrectly states this aircraft was lost over Port Moresby
Kokoda Air Strikes page 257 repeats error that Plain was lost over Port Moresby, citing Eagles of the Souther Sky
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis
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January 5, 2018