|Pilot Sgt Bill Cowe, 401769 (KIA) Berwick, VIC
Crashed August 28, 1942
Arriving over Port Moresby, there was a low cloud and Bill Cowe flew into the valley in the dark, around 1830 hours and crashed. Les Jackson forced landed at Paramana Point, returing to Moresby aboard a lugger and Lakatoi a few days later.
Michael Claringbould adds:
The three of us carried the wing back to my house, located behind Port Moresby High School. Looking back on this feat, it was remarkable. It must have taken us hours, for we were all only between 9 and 10 years of age. The walking distance alone was one hour, and with that heavy outer wing, I really don't know how we did it. The wing was part of my "war collection" I had back in those days, kept mostly under my house, which included a 50 cal machine gun and samurai sword. I remember also walking to the site in 1966 with two of Bill Chapman's friends, and Peter Lamb, a school friend. After we had removed the wing, I recall with great clarity Mark Warren telling me his father had been annoyed that we had removed the wing as he had often used it as a landmark when departing Jackson's Drome in his DC3s!
For the next twenty years I wondered what aircraft this had been, although I was sure it had been a P-40. Even Bruce Hoy, the great guru of the times, had no answer. I finally discovered the identity when reading Odger's Involvement of the RAAF in the Pacific War 1939-42. There was a reference to a P-40 crashing in hills behind Port Moresby during a return from Milne Bay. After all these years, I finally collected sufficient information, to confirm positively that this is the aircraft, including an explanation for the British roundel! Mark Warren was killed in the Solomon Islands years later, and I left behind the wing at my house when our family left PNG in 1973. Thats where the story ends."