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|Pilot 2nd Lt. William H. Melville, O-742880 (MIA / KIA) Minneapolis, MN
Crashed October 28, 1943
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra serial number 42-19959. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. This aircraft had a white painted tail and U. S. star and bar markings. When lost, engine V1710-85 serial number 42-98044. Armed with 50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 659092, 661109, 507518, 507410 and 37mm cannon 5946.
The flight was was last seen by 1st Lt John J. Perkins roughly 25 miles north of Bulldog in bad weather at approximately 4:10pm. Returning to base alone, P-39Q piloted by 1st Lt. Perkins periodically attempted to reach his flight by radio without result. At 5:05pm, he landed safely at 5 Mile Drome. The other three Airacobras failed to return and were officially listed as Missing In Action: P-39Q 42-19987 (MIA, resolved), P-39Q 42-20031 (MIA) and this aircraft.
During late September 2014, Michael Claringbould claimed to visit the crash site of a Airacobra reported to be this aircraft and photographed the tail painted white with traces of "219" visible on both sides and a yellow and red horizontal stripe at the tip of the tail. Also, one of the cockpit doors. In fact, was the crash site of P-39N Airacobra 42-19041.
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