Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort, O-797812 (Franklin, VA)
Crashed October 22, 1943
Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort
was later MIA in P-47D 42-75940 over Biak.
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in
Evansville, IN. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 348th Fighter Group, 342nd Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
After an escort mission to Wewak, he became lost and bailed out over the Fly River
Area, where he spent two days lost in the jungle and four days with friendly locals, until
linking up with American forces, and returning to duty.
"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 embarrising. 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."
Thanks to Bruce
Fenstermaker additional information.
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October 25, 2012