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|Pilot 1st Lt.
Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort, O-797812 (survived) Franklin, VA
Crashed October 22, 1943
Built by the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation was opened at Evansville, IN. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D-2-RA Thunderbolt serial number 42-22497. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 348th Fighter Group, 342nd Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On October 22, 1943 took off from Port Moresby on an escort mission over Wewak. Returning from the mission, Frankfort became lost and bailed out over the Fly River Area, where he spent two days lost in the jungle and four days with friendly natives before linking up with Allied forces and was transported back to Port Moresby and returned to duty.
Bruce Fenstermaker adds:
"On the first MIA mission of Oct. '43 he was escorting 8 B-25s along with his (flight/element). The distance was just about too far and the P-47s were critical on fuel and one of the others had to ditch in a small lake (river). Some time later he had to bail out because of fuel exhaustion also. He bailed out at 1200 feet and landed up in a tree that was 150 ft. high. He broke a rib and sustained bruises and scrapes when he fell trying to get down. He received a Purple heart for these injuries and because he didn't boast of the Kavieng Silver Star recommendation and later be awarded posthumously after his recovery and return in 1995 or his kills - I believe he was rather shy about his purple heart after all that he had gone through to this point in the war - getting one for falling out of a tree was rather embarrassing. He tried making it out for two days wandering generally following the Fly river when he found a small village with some friendly natives who rescued him and for 4 more days ferried him down to a plantation housing American forces. His family already received the telegram that he was MIA somewhere in New Guinea and were heart sick of his loss but only a week later receiving another telegram of his survival."
On May 27, 1944 Frankfort was killed piloting P-47D Thunderbolt 42-75940 over Biak.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-2-RA Thunderbolt 42-22497
"22497 (342nd FS, 348th FG, 5th AF) crashed in Fly River area, Papua New Guinea after ran out of fuel Oct 22, 1943. Pilot bailed out and was rescued by friendly natives."
Thanks to Bruce Fenstermaker additional information
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