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  P-38J-20-LO Lightning Serial Number 44-23526  
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Henry J. Frank, O-763148 (POW, executed)
Crashed  September 11, 1944 at 2:15pm
MACR  8967

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines V1710-91 and V1710-89 serial numbers A-049195 and unknown. Weapon serial numbers listed in Missing Air Crew Report 8967 (MACR 8967).

Wartime History
On September 11, 1944 took off from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island at 11:25am one of eleven P-38s flying in three flights on a mission to dive bomb Liang Airfield on Ambon Island. This flight was led by P-38 piloted by 1st Lt. Raymond A. Nelson with this aircraft flying as his wingman. During the flight, bad weather diverted the formation to the Boela Oil Fields at Boela (Bula) their secondary target.

Over the target at 2:15pm, this aircraft made a bombing run and a strafing run against buildings at Boela Airfield, attacking from west to east. Anti-aircraft ground fire, likely 12.7mm machine gun or 20mm cannon fire was observed around this P-38 causing both engines to catch fire. Damaged, this P-38 pulled up at Frank was observed to bail out at 1,500', then the aircraft stalled and fell off on the left wing before crashing northeast of the runway in the revetment area of Boela Airfield.

Pilot Frank was observed to bail out by three other P-38 pilots including 1st Lt. Swift, 1st Lt. Nelson and 1st Lt. Krankowita. He was observed to land in a grove of trees 2,000' from the southeast end of the runway. Anti-aircraft fire was observed targeting his parachute as he descended. The P-38s from his flight circled the place he went down but were unable to observe him or the parachute, before departing for base. When Frank failed to return, he was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fate of the Pilot
Frank was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). He was beheaded by Captain Kimura.

On August 20, 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by Ft Lt Belcher investigated this P-38 crash site, concluding it must have exploded in the air as the wreckage was spread over a wide area.

Recovery of Remains
After his remains were recovered, Frank was buried in India. Burial today unknown.

Missing Air Crew Report 8967 (MACR 8967)
Missing Air Crew Report 11060 (MACR 11060) mentions this P-38 on page 16
Page 16: “(20 August) [1946] we inspected the crashed P38 on the airstrip at Boela. This plane must have exploded in the air because the wreckage was spread over a large area, F/O MILLER’s patrol report on BOELA refers.”

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


Tech Info

Sept 11, 1944

1 Prisoners

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