|Pilot F/Lt Barry Mortimer Cox, 260706 (MIA / KIA) Ried, Canberra
Crashed April 28, 1942
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army as serial number 41-5527. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during March 1942. Assigned to 75 Squadron on April 5,
1942. Tail code R. Nicknamed "Sweet Adeline" on the fuselage.
On April 28, 1942 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port
Moresby at 10:40am on a mission to intercept incoming Japanese aircraft including G4M1 Betty bombers from the 4th Kokutai escorted by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai. During the air combat, this P-40 was shot down and was observed to crash into the Waigani Swamp. Cox was not observed to bail out and is presumed to have died on impact. Also lost was P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8 piloted by John Jackson who was also killed.
After the crash, an Australian Army search team reached the crash site and found the P-40 partially buried in the swamp and still burning.
On May 4, 1942 F/O Piper from 75 Squadron reached the crash site and was able to identify the aircraft from a small piece of the fuselage recovered and stated the plane was buried 10-15' into the soil.
On May 5, 1942 a search party including P/O Tucker and W/O Tarrant from 75 Squadron returned to the crash site and attempted to excavate it, but were unsuccessful due to the soil and burned wreckage. A small portions of substance were recovered that were thought to be human remains that were burned by fire but were unable to be positively identified as bone. The surrounding area was searched without any trace of the pilot and it was presumed he died in the crash. Since his remains were not recovered, he remains listed as missing.
RAAF Casualty File (NAA: A705, 163/26/203) page 27:
"A.R.C. S. Searcher Report... I didn't see the wreck but F/O P. Neale, R.A.A.F. salvage did.
He had no chance of escape and if not dead when the plane hit the swamp he was burnt. He was a P. O. at the time. N. B. searcher saw P/O P. Neale and he sas [sic, saw] the plane but it was impossible to get to the plane to get the body. Plane was burnt."
Cox was declared missing the day of the mission. He is memorialized at the Port Moresby Memorial, pane 9 at Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.
RAAF Casualty File (NAA: A705, 163/26/203)
RAAF Service Record (NAA: A9300, COX B M)
CWGC - Barry Mortimer Cox
ADF Serials - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-47
Eagles of the Southern Sky page 40-41incorectly states was found during construction of 5 Mile Drome
Storm over Kokoda page 205 incorrectly associates P-40 wreckage at Port Moresby golf course with Cox:
"Barry Cox died in Jackson’s final combat too, but in what circumstances we have no record. United States army engineers draining a wetland to build yet another airfield finally found his Kittyhawk months later, but left it where it fell. After the war, the Port Moresby golf course took advantage of the American landscaping for the purposes of the course design, and more than sixty years after the event, parts of Cox’s fighter were still visible."
RAAFDB - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-47
Barry Mortimer Cox
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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May 22, 2017