8th PHOTO RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON

 

This photograph, from an unknown source, shows an 8th PRS Lockheed F-4 on the aft deck of the S.S. President Coolidge.
Click on image for a larger view and further details..
 
Although obviously not an Australian squadron, the 8th PRS features prominently in the history of Australian Lockheed F-4 Lightning operations, as it was this squadron which supplied all of the F-4s operated by the RAAF at various times. For this reason, a brief history of the 8th PRS in Australia has been included on this website.

 

8th PRS CHRONOLOGY

23DEC41 Formation authorised
19JAN42 Constituted as 8th Photographic Squadron
01FEB42 Activated at March Field, California
19MAR42 "A" Flight sailed for Australia on S.S. "President Coolidge"
07APR42 Arrived Camp Pell, Melbourne
24APR42 Departed for Camp Doomben, Brisbane
APR/MAY42 Became operational with four (4) aircraft
02MAY42 Departed Camp Doomben, Brisbane for Townsville
09JUN42 Redesignated 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron
16JUL42 "B" and "C" Flights arrived in Melbourne on the S.S. "Matsonia" and encamped at Camp Murphy
27JUL42 "B" and "C" Flights joined "A" Flight at Townsville
12AUG42 Four (4) F-4 received at CAC, Melbourne
19AUG42 Five (5) F-4 received at CAC, Melbourne
05SEP42 An advance party left for Port Moresby followed by the rest of the squadron a few weeks later. The squadron was based at Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile).
05JAN44 Moved to Durand Drome (17 Mile)
16MAR44 Moved to Nadzab, Lae

 

LIST OF ALL F-4s ALLOCATED TO THE 8th PRS

 

8th PRS F-4 LOSSES

The following listing does not pretend to be complete. It has been compiled from the 8th PRS diary which forms the basis of the book "The Eight Ballers" (see Sources). Any additions will be gratefully received. MIA = Missing In Action. KIA = Killed In Action.
Note: Some of these unidentified losses may have been F-5As. It is believed that F-5As began arriving in theatre in March 1943.

AIRCRAFT

DATE

LOCATION

PILOT

?

04MAY42

Lae (departed from Townsville)

Capt Louis J. Connelly (MIA).

41-2125

13AUG42

Misiama Island

Lt Paul Staller (KIA)

41-2098

14SEP42

North East New Guinea

Lt Peterson (MIA)

41-2123

28NOV42

Near 12 Mile

Lt Phillip D. Lissner (KIA)

41-2177

21MAY43

Between Wau and Nassau Bay

Robert M Blackard (KIA)

?

05JUN43

Northern New Britain

1st Lt Fred Hargesheimer (bailed out). Poss F-5A

?

20JUN43

Wide Bay (New Britain)

Major Art Post (bailed out)

41-2137
26JUN43
Between Port Moresby and Rabaul 1st Lt. Kenneth J. Murphy (MIA)
?

31JUL43

Markham Valley NW of Nadzab

Lt. LeGrand Kneeskern (bailed out)

41-2122

05DEC43

Near Hood Point

F/O Fred Cross (KIA)

41-2209

30DEC43

Coral Sea

Lt. Charles K Erb (MIA)

 

8th PRS LOCKHEED F-4 IMAGES

41-2123 Fainting Floozie II
41-2123 Fainting Floozie II
41-2125
41-2125
41-2125
#34 Eager Beaver II
41-2137Hellzapoppin Hepcat
41-2139 Poutin Peggy
41-2177 Dotin' Donna
41-2209 Alice The Goon
 
Unidentified 8th PRS F-4
 

 

SOURCES


"The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force"
by John Stanaway and Bob Rocker (Schiffer Books 1999).



Thanks also to:

Lawrence Packard

Chuck Varney

Bob Rocker

Terry Geary

The 8th PRS patch appears thanks to Bill Hilliard and

Peter Dunn's "Australia @ War" web site www.ozatwar.com

 


Issue Date Remarks
6 15MAY14
The listing of 8th PRS F-4s has been transferred to a standalone page.
5 29DEC12
Added three new images thanks to Bob Rocker.
4 16JUL10
Corrected the 8th PRS Chronology to show Schwimmer as 14 Mile and Durand as 17 Mile. Previously they were transposed. Added several new images thanks to Bob Rocker.
3 06MAR09
Added a note that 41-2325 is a P-38F.
Corrected date of crash of 41-2125 from 27JUL42 to 13AUG42 (Source: Eight Ballers p.11)
Added a date for 41-2137 entering service as a two seater. (Source: Eight Ballers p.34)
Added four images of 8th PRS F-4s.
2 10JUN06
Table of 8th PRS aircraft revised thanks to input from Gordon Birkett. Update includes the addition of two aircraft, 41-2126 & 41-2144.
1 08DEC04
Original issue.



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