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  P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-8 Tail Code I
No. 75 Squadron

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Jackson April 28, 1942

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2005

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John Douglas 2005
Pilot  Squadron Leader John F. Jackson, 493 C. O. 75 Squadron (KIA, BR) Clayfield, QLD
Crashed  April 28, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York during 1941. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a P-40E Warhawk serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia as part of defense aid.

Wartime History
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk serial number A29-8 and assigned 1 Air Depot (1 AD) and reassembled. On March 8, 1942 assigned to No. 75 Squadron code I and delivered eight days later. No known nose art or nickname. On March 24, 1942 deemed serviceable and flown from Garbutt Field at Townsville northward to 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

On March 25, 1942 force landed but not damaged.

On April 5, 1942 took off pilot unknown from Port Moresby on a morning mission and sustained damage but landed safely. On the ground, the damage included damaged engine rocker including two valves and valve springs and a broken left back rocker cover left back holed causing an oil leak. The instrument panel was out, the left side of the canopy, tail and left aileron had holes. This P-40 was grounded for two days while repaired.

This P-40 did not fly an interception mission later that day. According to Squadron Leader John F. Jackson flight log, he did not fly that day. The Operations Record Book No. 75 Squadron incorrectly states "S/Ldr. Jackson" led an intercept mission, but in fact was his brother, F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson who led the interception piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9.

Mission History
On April 28, 1942 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby piloted by Squadron Leader John F. Jackson to intercept A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai (Tainan Air Group). During the air combat, this P-40 was claimed by FPO2c Izumi Hideo. Damaged by gunfire, this P-40 went in a vertical before crashing onto the eastern slope of Mount Lawes killing Jackson on impact. Also lost was P-40E Kittyhawk A29-47 piloted by Cox (MIA).

This P-40 crashed in a vertical dive onto the eastern slope of Mount Lawes. On impact, the engine was buried into the ground and the force of the crash compressed the wing from a width of 8' to only 8" and caused an impact crater.

During the 1970s, William Champan recovered a rudder pedal was recovered for the Air Museum, including one of the .50 caliber machine guns, engine and cockpit pieces from a 10' deep crater caused by the crash.

During 2005, other relics including the landing gear legs and a machine gun were recovered to a small museum at Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile, Laloki).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, his remains were recovered and buried with a white cross that read: "493 493 Sqn Ldr. J. F. Jackson, DFC RAAF 28-4-42".

Jackson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He is permanently buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2. C. 17. The grave reads: "493 Squadron Leader J. F. Jackson, DFC. Royal Australian Air Force 28th April 1942 age 34 Life is Eternal"

Afterwards, 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby was renamed "Jackson Drome" in his honor. Postwar known as "Jackson Airport" or "Jacksons International Airport". Today known as "Port Moresby Jacksons International Airport" or "Port Moresby International (Jacksons)".

During 1942, a memory lane sign created by RAAF Toc H Group in Port Moresby. The sign read: "Memory Lane: In memory of R.A.A.F personnel who have flown to a higher level 'Per ardua ad astra' (through adversity to the stars)" with the names of RAAF pilots missing and killed including "J. F. Jackson".

Outside the old terminal building at Jackson Airport is a wing shaped memorial dedicated to Jackson. During 2016, a display devoted to John Jackson including wreckage from this Kittyhawk including a bent .50 caliber machine gun and pieces of wreckage was unveiled in the international departure terminal area of Jacksons Airport.

Other sources incorrectly list this Kittyhawk with tail code "H" [sic].
WW2 Nominal Roll - John F. Jackson, 493
S/Ldr John Jackson Flight Log – 5 April 1942
NAA Aircraft status cards - Kittyhawk A29-1 to A29-99 (NAA: A10297, BLOCK 212) - P-40 Kittyhawk A29-8
ADF Serials - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8
Write-off Min #8 File 9/1/1123 13/07/42, file 16/59/Air (photos)
NAA "Operations 75 Squadron" pages 11-12 (NAA: A1196, 60/501/100)
NAA "Operations record book (forms A50 & A51), 75 Squadron" page 21 (NAA: A9186, 95)
5/4 [April 5, 1942]
0742: 2 Aircraft on security patrol over base.
1040K: S/Ldr JACKSON [sic F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9], leading formation of 7 Kittyhawk aircraft took off to intercept 7 enemy bombers escorted by fighters reported to be approaching. One enemy bomber and one zero type fighter seen shot down in flames, and considerable damage inflicted on others.
1732K: 7 Kittyhawk aircraft, replacement aircraft, arrived at base from mainland. [Australia]"
CWGC - John Francis Jackson
FindAGrave - Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson (photo, grave photo)
Southwest Passage The Yanks in the Pacific (1943) page 191
Visit to P-40E Kittyhawk A28-9 piloted by S/Ldr. John Jackson by John Douglas October 2005
Eagles of the Southern Sky (2012) pages 78-81, 293 (profile), 331
Thanks to John Douglas, Michael Claringbould, Daniel Leahy, Keith Hopper and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
April 26, 2021

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