LOSS OF AN F-4-1 LIGHTNING (P-38)
BETWEEN HORN ISLAND AND PORT MORESBY
ON 13 AUGUST 1942

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On 13 August 1942, F-4-1 Lightning (P-38) #41-2125, piloted by Lt. Paul Staller of "B" Flight of the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron left Townsville at 10:45am headed for Port Moresby. He landed at Horn Island and took off from there at 5:00 pm the same day. He never arrived at Port Moresby A detailed check of the various airfields in New Guinea was carried out to see if he had landed elsewhere. He was listed as "Missing in Action". His aircraft and body were later found crashed on Misima Island at the south eastern end of New Guinea. 

 

staller.jpg (24904 bytes)
Photo: via Jim McEwan

Lt. Paul Staller at Photo School
at Sawry Field, Denver, CO in early 1942

 

This was the first loss of life for the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. It was assumed that he had engine or navigation instrument failure. Paul Staller was much admired by the rest of his Squadron and his loss brought the realisation that they were in a dangerous environment.

Paul attended Pennsylvania State College, and joined the Army Air Corps from Mt. Carmel, PA, USA. He completed his Flying School training at Brooks Field, Call of 41-G (26 Sep 1941). He attended Officers Aerial Photo Course at Sawry Field prior to assignment to the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jim McEwan and Geoffrey Heard for their assistance with this home page.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force
The 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in World War II
By John Stanaway & Bob Rocker
www.schifferbooks.com

 

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This page first produced 21 May 2001

This page last updated 30 March 2013