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On 18 February 1942, a USAAF P-40E Kittyhawk, Serial No. #41-389, of the 13th Pursuit Squadron (Prov.), piloted by 2nd Lieutenant J.P. Martin (Air Reserve, Service No. 0-427557), was damaged by fire at Maylands airfield at Perth in Western Australia after his starboard wing hit a 15 feet high pole while landing. The aircraft struck the ground on its right wheel and skidded sideways. The damaged aircraft was shipped to Laverton in Victoria for salvage.

According to Dwight Messimer ('PAWNS OF WAR", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1983, p. 33-34), Martin's P-40 "cracked up on landing at Fremantle" on 17 February 1942 (and not 18 Feb 42). Actually it hit a windsock when landing at Maylands (Perth's main airport until c1944) on 17 February 1942. It was one of 33 P-40s of the 49th Fighter Group flown to Perth from Brisbane in mid February 1942. They were towed along main roads to Fremantle over the night of 21-22 February 1942 and loaded on the USS LANGLEY which then sailed for Java with these aircraft as fighter reinforcements. On 27 February 1942 USS LANGLEY was attacked south of Tilatjap by Japanese aircraft and was so badly damaged it had to be torpedoed by an escort. 

USS LANGLEY was actually one of the support ships for the US Navy's Patrol Wing Ten. The PW10 War Diary for 27 February 1942 lists the names of the 31 USAAC pilots missing (none survived the War) as a result of the attack on USS Langley. There was one 1st Lt. and thirty 2nd Lts. The latter includes J.P.Martin (0-427557). Also lost were 12 crew chiefs from the 35th Pursuit Group, but their names are not recorded in the above War Diary.

Lindsay Peet believes that the damaged P-40 was loaded onto USS Langley to be a source of spare parts.



Document prepared by 1st Lt. Elmore G. Brown, titled:-

"Headquarters, USA Air Forces in Australia
A-4. Aircraft Movements Status & Statistics Section
Location and Status of Damaged Aircraft in Australia"

Dwight Messimer ('Pawns of War", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1983



I'd like to thank Chris Jamesson, Lindsay Peet and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this page.


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This page first produced 9 June 2001

This page last updated 03 February 2020