42-27588         P47 (MACR 13493)

 

On 31 March 1945, a P-47D-23RA, # 42-27588, assigned to the 1st Air Commando Group, 6th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Hay, India, for a dive bombing and strafing mission of the enemy at the railroad and road at Thawatti, Burma. The P-47 was seen to crash into the ground after strafing some boxcars at about 1050 hours near Myohla, Burma, killing the pilot, 1stLt Ralph A. Selkirk, # 0-818443.

 

Witnesses to the crash were 1stLt Allen H. Vanderyerk, 0-692237, 1stLt Dean (NMI) Illingworth, 0-812095, and 1stLt Walter F. Pratt Jr., 0-889665. Lt. Pratt reported that he was # 2 in the flight of four, and Lt. Selkirk was # 4. He pulled off the target, looked back, and saw a large fire which was immediately after the crash of Lt. Selkirk. Lt. Illingworth reported that the flight dive bombed the Ela Bridge south of Pyinmana, Burma, and flew south down the railrtoad, strafing targets. After strafing boxcars he looked back and saw Lt. Selkirk close to the ground and then he hit the ground and his fighter exploded. He saw an intact wing and the rest was burned. Lt. Vanderyerk reported that he led the flight of four P-47s. They strafed the boxcars and he did not see Lt. Selkirk crash. He was told about it and passed over the crash. A well drawn sketch accompanied the fold3.com MACR file.

 

SELKIRK, RALPH ALEXANDER, First Lieutenant, # 0-818443, USAAF

 

Ralph A. Selkirk was born on 24 December 1923 in Homer City, Pennsylvania, to Ralph A. Selkirk (1903-1965) and Nola (Fitzhonts) Selkirk (1903-1987). Siblings included Robert Anthony Selkirk (1930-1997), William M. Selkirk (1935-2013), Male Infant Selkirk (1933-1933), Samuel Johnson Selkirk (1927-1988), John David Selkirk (1932-2004), Doris V. (Selkirk) Desch (1929-    ), Sarah Lucille (Selkirk) Kaspari (1934-2018), Thomas Selkirk (1939-    ). They lived in Indiana, PA, in 1965. His father was a design engineer on his death in 1965.

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 30 June 1942, resided at 662 Water St., Indiana, Pennsylvania, employed by the R&P Coal Co., and described himself as 5’8 ¼”, 127 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He had a scar on his back on the right side. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and earned his commission and pilot wings to fly the P-47 Thunderbolt. He was sent overseas to India. On 31 March 1945, a P-47D-23RA, # 42-27588, assigned to the 1st Air Commando Group, 6th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Hay, India, for a dive bombing and strafing mission of the enemy at the railroad and road at Thawatti, Burma. The P-47 was seen to crash into the ground after strafing some boxcars at about 1050 hours near Myohla, Burma, killing the pilot. Witnesses to the crash were 1stLt Allen H. Vanderyerk, 0-692237, 1stLt Dean (NMI) Illingworth, 0-812095, and 1stLt Walter F. Pratt Jr., 0-889665. Lt. Pratt reported that he was # 2 in the flight of four, and Lt. Selkirk was # 4. He pulled off the target, looked back, and saw a large fire which was immediately after the crash of Lt. Selkirk. Lt. Illingworth reported that the flight dive bombed the Ela Bridge south of Pyinmana, Burma, and flew south down the railrtoad, strafing targets. After strafing boxcars he looked back and saw Lt. Selkirk close to the ground and then he hit the ground and his fighter exploded. He saw an intact wing and the rest was burned. Lt. Vanderyerk reported that he led the flight of four P-47s. They strafed the boxcars and he did not see Lt. Selkirk crash. He was told about it and passed over the crash. He is remembered on the wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.