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  P-39F-1-BE Airacobra Serial Number 41-7207  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
35th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Harold J. Chivers, O-431858 (MIA / KIA) OR
MIA  May 4, 1942
MACR  16438 / 16440

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On May 4, 1942 at 9:25am took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Harold J. Chivers on a scramble mission to intercept incoming Japanese aircraft including G4M1 Bettys escorted by nine A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group). During the air combat, this Airacobra was shot down and possibly crashed in the Brown River area. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially condemned on October 31, 1944.

According to the Japanese side, nine A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai escorting G4M1 Betty bombers over Port Moresby intercepted seven Airacobras that dove from above to attack the bombers then were intercepted with WO Handa Watari claiming one shot down.

Memorials
Chivers was declared dead on December 14, 1945. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Chivers is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

References
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) Harold J. Chivers (201 File)
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - P-39F-1-BE Airacobra 41-7207 condemned October 31, 1944
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-39F-1-BE Airacobra 41-7207
"7207 condemned Oct 31, 1944"
Missing Air Crew Report 16438 (MACR 16438) created retroactively circa 1945-1946 pages 5-7 relates to the loss of three pilots: [P-39F 41-7145] Talbot, [P-39F 41-7207 this aircraft] Chivers and [P-39D 41-6825] Hooker
(Page 5) "Subject: Determination of Status under Public Law 490, as amended.
4. The AG 201 files and the Casualty Branch 201 files contain nothing pertinent to the determination of the status of Lieutenants Chivers and Hooker. In the case of Lieutenant Talbot, his AG 201"
(Page 6) "file contains a letter from his wife dated January 6, 1943, addressed to the Adjutant General, which quotes certain statements made by her father-in-law in the letter to her. It appears from the letter that a cousin of Mrs. Talbot's father-in-law was listening to a Japanese broadcast on November 21, 1942 and that she became aware of the name Raymond Talbot as being on a prisoner's list. No rank, location or home address was given on the broadcast.
7. None of the reports received show them [Talbot, Chivers and Hooker] to be dead, returned to duty, or prisoners of war, except that in the case of Lieutenant Talbot there is a hearsay statement that a Raymond Talbot is a Prisoner Of War of the Japanese Government. The records of the PMGO do not contain the name of Victor R. Talbot."
Missing Air Crew Report 16440 (MACR 16440) created retroactively circa 1945-1946 details three pilots in the same report: [P-39F 41-7145] Talbot, [P-39F 41-7207] Chivers and [P-39D 41-6825] Hooker. This report has a number of errors. Talbot and Hooker were lost on a fighter sweep over Lae Airfield on the north coast of New Guinea. The report does not list P-39D 41-6956 pilot 2nd Lt. Charles Schwimmer nor P-39D 41-6971 pilot 1st Patrick M. Armstrong, Jr. who both flew the Lae strafing mission and both went Missing IN Action (MIA). The report incorrectly states Talbot, Chivers and Hooker were "attacking enemy bombers & fighters over Seven Mile Airdrome Port Moresby N.G." incorrectly. Talbot, Chivers and Hooker were lost on the Lae stafing mission at dawn on May 4, 1942. Chivers on a different sortie to intercept a Japanese air raid over Port Moresby during the morning of May 4, 1942.
(Page 7) "III. Recommendation It is recommended that Lieutenants Victor R. Talbot, Harold J. Chivers, and Jeff David Hooker, Jr., be continued in a status of missing in action as of May 4, 1943, under the provisions of Section 5, Public Law 490, March 7, 1942, as amended."
Missing Air Crew Report 16440 (MACR 16440) created retroactively circa 1945-1946 details three pilots in the same report: [P-39D 41-7145] Talbot, [P-39F 41-7207 this aircraft] Chivers and [P-39D 41-6825] Hooker. This report has a number of errors. Talbot and Hooker were lost on a fighter sweep over Lae Airfield on the north coast of New Guinea. The report does not list P-39D 41-6956 [this aircraft] pilot 2nd Lt. Charles Schwimmer nor P-39D 41-6971 pilot 1st Patrick M. Armstrong, Jr. who both flew the Lae strafing mission and both went Missing IN Action (MIA). The report incorrectly states Talbot, Chivers and Hooker were "attacking enemy bombers & fighters over Seven Mile Airdrome Port Moresby N.G." incorrectly. Talbot, Chivers and Hooker were lost on the Lae stafing mission at dawn on May 4, 1942. Chivers on a different sortie to intercept a Japanese air raid over Port Moresby during the morning of May 4, 1942.
Kodochosho Tainan Kōkūtai - May 4, 1942 (morning bomber escort mission over Port Moresby)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold J. Chivers
FindAGrave - 1Lt Harold J Chivers (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Chivers
Attack & Conquer (1995) pages 47, 311
Eagles of the Southern Sky (2012) pages 105 (May 4, 1942 mission), 331
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020

 

Tech Info
P-39

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
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