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  P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-8 Tail Code I
RAAF
75 Squadron

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John Douglas 2005

Pilot  Squadron Leader John F. Jackson, 493 C. O. 75 Squadron (KIA, BR) Clayfield, QLD
Crashed  April 28, 1942


Pilot History
Born in Clayfield, Queensland to parents William James Jackson and Edith Annie Jackson. Married to Elizabeth Helen Jackson. A veteran of North Africa, he was known to his men as "Old John", and was 34 in 1942.  Commander of 75 Squadron during 1942, and flew combat missions along with his brother, Les Jackson.  John Jackson was credited with 8 or 9 victories. After his death, Les Jackson replaced him as C.O. of 75 Squadron. Previously, Jackson bailed out of Kittyhawk A29-24 on April 10, 1942 and a trek before being rescued and returned to duty.

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

Wartime History
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk A29-8. Assigned 1 Air Depot (1 AD) and reassembled. On March 8, 1942 assigned to 75 Squadron and delivered eight days later. No known nose art or nickname. Coded "I". On March 24, 1942 this Kittyhawk was deemed serviceable. On March 25, 1942 this P-40 force landed.

Sometime after March 24 1942 flown from Garbutt Field at Townsville on a ferry flight to 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. On March 25, 1942 force landed without damage, details unknown.

On April 5, 1942 took off from Port Moresby on a mission to intercept incoming Japanese bombers and fighters. During this combat, damaged by gunfire. but landed safely and was repaired two days later. The damage included engine rocker damage including two valves and valve springs and a broken left back rocker cover left back holed causing oil to escape. The instrument panel was out, sliding hood left side was holed and tail plus left aileron holed. Two days later, this P-40 was repaired and returned to duty.

On April 5, 1942 is unclear which pilot flew this aircraft or what type of mission it was on. This P-40 was not involved in air combat on April 5, 1942, but might have flown a morning patrol mission over the base area and sustained non-combat damage.

According to S/Ldr. John Jackson's flight log, he did not fly that day. The Operations Record Book No. 75 Squadron incorrectly states "S/Ldr. Jackson" led an intercept mission, but this was in fact his brother F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9.

Mission History
On April 28, 1942 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby on a mission to intercept A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai. During the air combat, this P-40 was claimed by FPO2c Izumi Hideo. Damaged by gunfire, this P-40 crashed in a vertical dive onto the eastern slope of Mount Lawes killing Jackson on impact. Also lost was P-40E Kittyhawk A29-47 piloted by Cox (MIA).

Wreckage
Crashed into the hillside of Mount Lawes, burying the engine and compressing the wing from eight feet to only eight inches.

During the 1970s, Bill Champan recovered a rudder pedal was recovered for the museum, including machine guns, engine and cockpit pieces from a ten foot deep crater from the crash.

During 2005, other relics including the landing gear legs and a machine gun were recovered to a small museum at Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile, Laloki).

Memorials
Jackson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, his remains were recovered and buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2. C. 17.

7-Mile Drome the main airport at Port Moresby was renamed "Jackson Drome" in his honor. Outside the old terminal is a wing shaped memorial dedicated to his memory.

References
Note: other sources incorrectly list this P-40's tail code as "H".
S/Ldr John Jackson Flight Log – 5 April 1942
NAA Aircraft status cards - Kittyhawk A29-1 to A29-99 (NAA: A10297, BLOCK 212) - P-40 Kittyhawk A29-8
ADF Serials - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8
Write-off Min #8 File 9/1/1123 13/07/42, file 16/59/Air (photos)
NAA "Operations Record Book No. 75 Squadron" Barcode: 1068620 page 21
5/4 [April 5, 1942]
0742: 2 Aircraft on security patrol over base.
1040K: S/Ldr JACKSON [sic F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9], leading formation of 7 Kittyhawk aircraft took off to intercept 7 enemy bombers escorted by fighters reported to be approaching. One enemy bomber and one zero type fighter seen shot down in flames, and considerable damage inflicted on others.
1732K: 7 Kittyhawk aircraft, replacement aircraft, arrived at base from mainland. [Australia]
NAA "Operations 75 Squadron" A1196 / 60/501/100 / 201632 pages 11-12
Southwest Passage The Yanks in the Pacific page 191
CWGC - John Francis Jackson
Visit to P-40E Kittyhawk A28-9 piloted by S/Ldr. John Jackson by John Douglas
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 78-81, 293 (profile), 331
Thanks to John Douglas, Michael Claringbould, Daniel Leahy Keith Hopper and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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