|Pilot 2nd Lt. Garth B. Cottam, O-428912 (MIA / KIA) UT
MIA July 23, 1942 at 7:00am
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number unknown and painted in a three-color camouflage scheme. Instead, delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 40th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
Took off from Port Moresby on a mission on a combat mission over Buna. Cottam disappeared into an overcast and was never seen again, it is believed he crashed into Buna Bay. When Cottam failed to return and was delcared Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, searches revealed no trace of the pilot or plane.
Cottam was officially declared dead on January 7, 1946. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
A signal to Townsville from Port Moresby sent 0856/Z/23 states that aircraft disappeared 0648/K/22, which denotes that the loss took place on July 22. Another source states this Airacobra was last seen in bad weather near Salamaua.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra pilot Cottam
Joe Baugher "Airacobra I for RAF, P-400"
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information
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February 4, 2018