F-4 41-2217 of the 8th PRS flying over Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay c.1942. The small coastal inlet under the nose of the aircraft is now the location of the Tangalooma Resort. This photograph also appears in Wings Magazine (Vol. 8 No. 4 of August 1978) with the following caption:

"The first P-38 type to be assembled at Eagle Farm in Australia is shown in flight with Maj. Frederick G. Hoffman at the controls. It was the first combat product of the 81st Air Depot Group (ADG) on August 20, 1942. Hoffman was chief test pilot under Lt. Col. Ralph Fry, group C.O. The 81st was activated on May 11, 1942 at Brisbane, but much of their early P-38 work was done at Tocumwal with the 4th ADG. The aircraft shown was an F-4-1-LO (serial no AC41-2217), one of but a handful of photo recon aircraft available to support Gen. MacArthur. (Col. Frederick Hoffman)"

Although 41-2217 was not the first F-4 to be delivered to the 8th PRS, there is no reason to dispute the statement that it was the first to be assembled at Eagle Farm. However, the aircraft history card for 41-2217 suggests that it did not depart the U.S. mainland until 4th October 1942 arriving in Australia in November 1942 so the test flight date of 20th August is open to question. The appearance of the aircraft may suggest that it has already seen hard service but this is the usual appearance of the Haze Paint camouflage which was first introduced on the F-4.

Photo: State Library of Queensland (#156806)
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