|Pilot F/O Roy L. Kross, O-186666, 25th PRS (WIA, died December 6, 1943) Cook County, IL
Force Landed December 5, 1943 at 10:00am
Kross was a resident of Cook County, Illinois. He completed four years of high school and was employed in automotive manufacture. On August 20, 1940 enlisted in the U.S. Army on as a private in the Air Corps with enlistment for the Philippine Department. Married to Florence Latek. Kross was assigned to the 25th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (25th PRS).
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Construction Number 5340. This aircraft was originally ordered as a P-38E Lighting but was completed as the F-4 photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as F-4-1-LO Lightning serial number 41-2122. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (PRS). Squadron Number 22 on the tail and nose. No known nickname or nose art.
On June 7, 1943 this F-4 took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by Lt. Guerry on a flight for Dobodura.
On December 5, 1943 took off from14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by F/O Roy L. Kross on a local orientation flight along with F-4 41-2130 piloted by Lt Danvers. While flying low over the sea, this Lightning apparently lost control and attempted to ditch off Hood Point. Instead, this F-4 Lightning overshot the landing and slid into Hula village. Pilot Cross was burned during the crash and severely injured. This aircraft was officially written off on December 6, 1943.
After the crash, 5th Bomber Command phoned 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron to inform them of the crash.
Captain Skyes borrowed a 5th Bomber Command L-5 to get a doctor to Hood Point Airfield. Meanwhile, F-4 41-2130 piloted by Lt Danvers landed at Hood Point Airfield and transported Kross to Port Moresby arriving at 9:30pm and Kross was hospitalized at the 171st Station Hospital and died the next day.
Kross was officially declared dead on December 6, 1943. Initially, he was buried in Port Moresby. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial. During June 1948, he was buried at Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park in Willow Springs, IL.
Note, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) records incorrectly states F-4 Lightning A55-3 was USAAF serial number 41-2122.
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - F-4 Lightning 41-2122
USAF Serial Number Search Results - F-4-1-LO Lightning 41-2122 [entry incorrect, entry related to A55-3]
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - F-4 Lightning 41-2122
World War II Army Enlistment Records -
Roy L. Kross
The Eight Ballers Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker pages 94-95
"Sunday, December 5 – Another unexpected tragedy hit the Squadron today. One of the new pilots, F/O (Fred) Cross of the 25th Sq (L), 6th Gp, crashed in F-4 2122 near the Hood Point strip about 10:00 hours during a local hop designed to acquaint him with New Guinea. He was burned severely and was flown in a transport to the 171st Station Hospital in critical condition. He and Lt Danvers (2130) were flying together. Cross was apparently flying low over the water when he lost control of the plane. Bomber Command phoned Operations, and Capt Sykes flew to Hood Point in Bom Com’s L-5 to pick up the doctor and investigate the accident. Lt Danvers left 2130 at Hood Point and flew to the hospital with Cross. The ship was demolished. Part of a native village was struck before the plane hit a tree and burned... F/O Cross died early today as a result of burns sustained in his plane crash yesterday at Hood Point. The tragedy is made more severe when realizes that Cross’s father died a week ago. While none of the 8th Photo knew Cross well, his loss is felt deeply among the officers and men of the 25th Sq."
FindAGrave - FO Roy L Kross (grave photo, obituary)
"Chicago Tribune 6/6/1948 Roy L. Kross, F/O 25th Photo Recon. Sqd., at New Guinea, 12/5/1943, late of 1401 W. 82nd St., husband of Florence, nee Latek, son of Lillian and the late Fred, brother of Joan. Resting at funeral home, 1844 W. 63rd st. until 11 a.m. Thurs. Service 2 p.m., at Hope Ev. Luth. Church, 6400 S. Washtenaw av. Interment Fairmount."
The Lockheed File - 44 Reasons to be Confused mentions 41-2122
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 18, 2020