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B Fenstermaker 1991
|Pilot 1st Lt.
Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort, O-797812 (MIA / KIA, BR) Franklin, VA
MIA May 27, 1944
Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort had amassed 400 hours of combat flying, and was credited with 2.5 kills plus one probably over Cape Gloucester. Previously he bailed out of P-47D 42-22497 on October 22, 1943 and returned to duty. Lt. Frankfort earned the Silver Star after his P-47's tail was holed while on escort duty over Kavieng on February 15, 1944 when several B-25 were shot down and their crews were rescued by PBY Arkansas Traveler 08139 piloted by Nate Gordon. Frankfort went MIA at age 21.
Built by Republic at Farmingdale, NY. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D-16-RE Thunderbolt serial number 42-75940. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 348th Fighter Group (348th FG), 342nd Fighter Squadron (342nd FS). No known nickname or nose art.
On May 27, 1944 took off from Wakde Airfield pilot 1st Lt. Wynans Ellis "Flip" Frankfort on a patrol mission over the U. S. Army forces on southern Biak. During the patrol, several Japanese aircraft began strafing the American beachhead area. Spotted, the patrolling P-47s dove down to intercepted them. Frankfort began chasing a Ki-43 Oscar inland but crashed into the ground and exploded. The Ki-43 Oscar he was attacking would have been his third victory claim. When he failed to return from the mission, Frankfort was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Pilot George Burgess via 342nd Fighter Squadron, page 73:
"We were on patrol over the beachhead and shipping when I saw Grant start down. I started with him and saw three [Ki-43] Oscars and a [Ki-61] Tony. Grant overshot the first Oscar and I went up his tail giving him a long burst. Grant saw him crash into trees and explode. I made a climbing turn and then pulled in behind another Oscar and give him a long burst and when I pulled up and looked I saw him go into the trees and blow up. Nickell got one, Sutcliffe got one and I got two in this flight. Frankfort didn't come home and we never saw him again."
On April 19, 1991, Bruce Fenstermaker located this wreckage of this P-47 Thunderbolt while doing a search pattern with villagers from Sauri through Makabo inland from the Bosnek beachhead area. The wreckage was found upside down with Frankfort's remains still in the cockpit. The tail stabilizer, with the U. S. Army serial number "275940" was clearly visible when discovered by villager Henkie Wackumbem of Marcapol village who protected it, and send the site information to U.S. Army CILHI.
Recovery of Remains
In 1995, U.S. Army CILHI visited the crash site and recovered his remains.
Return of Frankfort's Ring
On August 12, 1996 Indonesian ambassador Dr Arfin M. Siregar returned a ring that belonged to Wynans Frankfort to his older brother, Philip Frankfort at the Embassy of The Republic of Indonesian in Washington, DC.
Frankfort was officially declared dead on February 16, 1946 and declared non-recoverable in 1949. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. After the recovery of his remains, Frankfort was buried in 1995 at Poplar Spring Cemetery in Franklin City, VA. Among those who attended his funeral was his older brother, Philip Frankfort.
Silver Star Award
Frankfort was recommended for a Silver Star Medal for role on February 15, 1944 escort mission over Kavieng. The medal was approved, but he went Missing In Action (MIA) before it was presented and until his 202 file was reviewed by TAPC after the recovery. No one in his family knew of the recommendation. His brother, Philip Frankfort asked to go to Fort Eustis, VA. to receive the Silver Star on behalf of his brother.
Philip Frankfort (older brother)
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-16-RE Thunderbolt 42-75940
"75940 (348th FG, 342nd FS, 5th AF) crashed from unknown cause 10 mi E of Biak Papua Indonesia May 27, 1944. MACR 6027. Pilot killed. Wreckage discovered in 1991."
Missing Air Crew Report 6027 (MACR 6027)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wynans E. Frankfort
FindAGrave - Lieut Wynans Ellis Frankfort (grave photos)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Wynans E Frankfort (tablets of the missing)
342nd Fighter Squadron, page 73
Associated Press (AP): USA: Washington: Ring belonged to WWII fighter pilot returned August 12, 1996
Thanks to Bruce Fenstermaker for additional information
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