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  P-47D Thunderbolt Serial Number ?  
USAAF
5th AF
58th FG
311th FS

Click For Enlargement
Hugh Dickson 2005

Pilot  ? (see below)
Ditched  October 21, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Republic. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South-West Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime Hstory
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 58th Fighter Group, 311th Figher Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On October 21, 1944 one of seven P-47 from the 311th Figher Squadron "Tubby Flight" that took off from Noemfoor on a strike mission over Ceram. In their eagerness to destroy the enemy the formation departed the target low on fuel. On their return trip they encountered bad weather and while trying to orient themselves discovered that they were unable to return to base. They all agreed to dive down through an opening in the clouds and ditch their planes into the sea.

One pilot with more gas than the others climbed to 13,000 feet contacted their base to get their position as a true bearing 105 miles west of Middleburg he went down through the clouds and also ditched. The seven pilots were scattered over a wide area around Wai.

Seaarch
The next day, OA-10 Catalina callsign "Daylight 13" piloted by Lt George A. Barnes of the 2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron took off ay 6:30am to search for the downed pilots. He made no sighting along the southern coast of Waigeo and proceeded westward to Jeffman Island Group where they sighted two survivors on an unnamed island.

He landed and rescued Captain O. S. Benner and 1 Lt K. J. Grapeau. After taking off, two escorting P-47 pilots sighted another man down in the sea in his life vest. Lt Barnes flew to that area and and picked up Lt R. W. Powell who was in good shape but very nervous and anxious. His hands were lacerated from the 15 hour immersion in the salt water. The fighters located another pilot in a life raft about ten miles away and directed Lt Barnes to him. Lt Barnes landed for the third time and rescued 1st Lt G. E. Taylor who was in a moderately severe state of shock, brought on by his being forced to remain in the water alone throughout the night. The fact that he could not swim added to his apprehensiveness. He was given a half grain of morphine and readily fell into a deep sleep. Lt Barnes took off and on his way back flew over the island where he had picked up the first two survivors and sighted another pilot waving frantically. However Lt Barnes was unable to land due to insufficient fuel. He called his fighter cover to continue circling the survivor while he contacted Daylight who proceeded to the area and rescued the fifth survivor. Aboard "Daylight 13", the survivors were given food, medical care, and made comfortable. Lt Taylor was taken to the hospital for rest and recuperation and the others were returned to their squadron. The two remaining P-47 pilots were rescued the following day.

Wreckage
This P-47 is upside down, one of the seven found by divers.  One is broken up in 2m of water, the other two are intact at 28m and 38m depth.

References
Thanks to Douglas Gray and Max Ammer for this information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-47

SCUBA

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