43-22860         P40

 

On 8 July 1944, a P-40N-20, # 43-22860, assigned to 10th Air Force, F.O.T.U., 338th Fighter Group, departed Landhi, India, on a training cross country formation flight in India. The pilot was 2ndLt Robert C. White, # 0-820422. It was last seen by Major William E. Blankenship, 0-418117, 2ndLt Palmer T. Foss, 0-760281, and 2ndLt Ronald Shepherd, 0-821785.

 

Major Earl J. Harrington reported: A search was begun 9 July 1944. A-24 aircraft were used in flights of 2 and 4, with A-36 and P-40 aircraft. The search continued for 2 days. Bad weather hampered the search a 3rd day and made continuing the search impossible the 4th and 5th days. The aircraft was classed as lost on 14 July 1944.

 

2ndLt Foss reported: At 1600 hrs, Maj. Blankenship directed the flight around bad weather. At 1635 hrs, Lt. Shepherd reported his generator was failing. Due to bad weather they could not climb over, a 180º turn was made. The 2nd element went further into the clouds. That was the last he saw of them at about 1645 hrs. Ten minutes later they did not answer radio calls.

 

Lt. Shepherd reported: He was # 2 at 1530 hrs. With bad weather, he took the # 3 position. As they climbed, he entered overhead at 10,000 feet. He tried flying IFR. The weather worsened. Rain started and it darkened. Wing tips were barely visible. Turbulence was bad. He went into a spiral dive.  He recovered into a chandelle. The plane was half rolled over; air speed dropped and he used full throttle to prevent a stall. The ship stalled and shook violently. He tried a half roll and to pull out and was at about 4,000 feet. Air speed increased to a 600 feet per minute descent rate. He was unable to correct its position. There was heavy rain and it was very dark. At 1,200 feet, he tried to bail out but needed to open the canopy more and at about 800 feet he got out. The last air speed reading was 330 MPH. It burst into flames when it crashed.

 

Maj. Blankenship reported: The student instruction flight departed Landhi Field at 1525 hrs to Bhuj, to Dharo-Naro and return to Landhi. He was flying a A-36 and the 3 students flew P-40s. Lt. Foss was flying a P-40N. His wingman was Lt. Shepherd, flying a P-40K-1. Lt. White led the 2nd element in a P-40N and a A-36 was the 4th. After about 40 minutes they countered a line of squalls. They fored up and flew around a squall with light rain. With more squall ahead it was decided to climb in circles above them and return to Landhi They climbed to about 9,000 feet. The 2nd element did not reappear from clouds. The 1st element circled. The 1st element of 2 descended to about 2,000 feet and were over the Indus River on a 90º course from Landhi Field. The two flew west and found themselves over the Arabian Sea about 5 miles south of Marachi, India. They landed at Landhi at about 1725 hours.

 

WHITE, ROBERT C., Second Lieutenant, # 0-820422, USAAF

 

Robert C. White was born on 8 December 1922 in Ohio to Wallis Mause White (1891-1973) (Canada) and Mary Helene (Corey) White (1898-1974) (NY) (married 11 September 1916, Genesee, NY. A sibling was Donald W. White (1918-    ). On 17 October 1942, he married Emma Louise Kale (1922-    ) in Quantico, Virginia.