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  P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-24 Code D
RAAF
75 Squadron

Pilot  Squadron Leader John F. Jackson, 493 C. O. 75 Squadron (KIA, BR) Clayfield, QLD
Crashed  April 10, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York during 1941. U. S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk A29-24. Assigned to 75 Squadron. Coded "D". No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On April 10, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby at dawn piloted by Squadron Leader John F. Jackson on a reconnaissance mission over Lae-Salamaua-Nadzab. When this P-40 failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

In fact, this P-40 reached the Lae area and was intercepted by three A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai piloted by FPO2c Un'ichi Miya, FPO3c Tatsusuke Goto and FPO3c Yutaka Kimura took off from Lae Airfield at 7:15am on a Combat Air Patrol (CAP). The trio jointly claimed a lone "Supermarine Spitfire" [sic] then landed safely at 9:20am. This was the first aerial victory claimed by the Tainan Kokutai.

Caught by surprise, this P-40 was heavily damaged by gunfire that shot away the windscreen, left holes in the aircraft and was set on fire. Pilot Jackson successfully bailed out unhurt.

Wreckage
This P-40 crashed into the sea roughly three quarters of a mile off Busana to the south of Lae and sank in a few seconds.

Search
When this P-40 failed to return, in the mid morning a Morse code transmission with the word "Lori". Afterwards, at 11:45am, A-24 Dive Bomber took off to search near Lori village and Oroi village roughly fifty miles northwest of Port Moresby. Later at 4:00pm, P-40 Kittyhawk A29-31 took off piloted by Cox on a search mission to the north, but experienced bad weather including heavy clouds and rain near the Kairuku and Mount Cameron area and was forced to return to base.

On April 11, 1942 six P-40s with seven A-24s took off on another search mission flying in a wide abreast formation to search for Jackson. On April 12, 1942 another search was made by P-40s along the Kokoda Track as far as Lake Triste then to within thirty miles of Salamaua but searched without results.

Fate of the Pilot
After bailing out, Jackson landed and with the help of two natives trekked Navos and was taken to members of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR). On April 18, 1942 they transmitted a radio message to Port Moresby that "John F." was safe at Navos roughly twenty miles west of Salamaua.

At Port Moresby, a rescue was planned using an American A-24 dive bomber able to accommodate a passenger escorted by P-40 Kittyhawk. On April 23, 1942 a first attempt was made to pick him up but bad weather prevented the rescue aircraft from locating Wau.

Rescue
On April 24, 1942 Jackson was rescued by a USAF A-24 Dive bomber piloted by 1st Lt. Virgil Schwab escorted by a P-40E Kittyhawk. Returning to 7 Mile Drome, the A-24 buzzed the runway to signal he had successfully rescued Jackson. During the approach to land, this A-24 was attacked by an A6M2 Zero and was hit by a 20mm cannon shell. Inside, Jackson's fingertip was severed by shrapnel. As P-40 piloted by John Piper attempted to intercept the Zero and drove it away. To evade further attack, the A-24 aborted the landing and instead flew to 3 Mile Drome (Kila) near Port Moresby and landed safely. Afterwards, Jackson returned to duty with 75 Squadron.

Later, Jackson killed piloting P-40E Warhawk A29-8 on April 28, 1942.

References
ADF Serials - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-24
CWGC - John Francis Jackson
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 51-52, 293 (profile), 331 lists loss as April 9, 1942 incorrectly

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-40

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