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  P-47D-15-RA "Tojo Special" Serial Number 42-23249  
5th AF

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Bill Thompson 1980

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Shirley Cook 1981

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via Aerothentic 1998

Aircraft History
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Constructors Number 1000. This aircraft was the one thousandth P-47 Thunderbolt built by the factory and was nicknamed "Tojo's Special" by workers. On December 14, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D-15-RA Thunderbolt serial number 42-23249. On February 5, 1944 delivered. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), unit assignment unknown.

Mission History
On October 29, 1944 took off on a ferry flight and became lost, low on fuel and force landed with the landing gear retracted on the beach to the north of Weipa along with P-47D 42-75921.

The next day, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) PV-1 Ventura located both P-47s and both pilots were rescued.

During December 1944, a U. S. Army demolition team blew up the plane.

Rob Staughton visited the site in 2000:
"I work for Comalco in Weipa and arrived here 2 years ago. I heard about the wrecks not long after, but it has taken this long for the curiosity to get the better of me and go to have a look. About 10 days ago my wife and I drove around to Duyfken Point to have a look at them. It was about 250 km round trip and took us most of the day. 70 km of it was driving along the beach and sand dunes. The planes are in a very poor state. They are about 75 metres from the ocean and about 100 metres apart. One is more complete than the other, but there is still very little left. One has it's motor nearby, no propeller, the wings, engine exhaust and assorted pieces of aluminum sheet lying around. The other has wings and a pile of pieces, nothing bigger than a shoe box, that have been placed there by someone. Neither of them have a fuselage."

The propeller from this aircraft was salvaged, and is displayed at Weipa Airport. The tail section was moved by the Australian Army to the Weipa Bus Depot in 1991.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-15-RA Thunderbolt 42-23249
"23249 in force landing Oct 28, 1944 while on ferry flight when ran out of fuel and got lost and landed gear up on beach near Weipa, Aust. US demolition team blew up the plane Dec 1944."
Mrs M. Little (courtesy of Geoff Wharton, ex-Comalco) rescue of pilots
Thanks to Kenneth D. Wilson for constructor number

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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