A rare photo of a bare metal A55-1 at Coomalie Creek. Originally thought to have been taken in 1943, this image must have been taken subsequent to January 1944 when photos of A55-1's drain excursion show the aeroplane still in camouflage. Most likely the camouflage was stripped when the aeroplane underwent its next major overhaul which was in July-August 1944. It is known that the 8th PRS began receiving uncamouflaged F-5s in early 1944 so it is surmised that the well worn paint was stripped and not replaced because the need for camouflage had passed. Of special note are the 59 mission symbols under the cockpit. It is not known if any of 1PRU's camouflaged Lightnings carried mission symbols but it is speculated that they have been applied retrospectively to recognise the "last survivor" status of A55-1 and perhaps the application of the mission symbols was the reason behind this photo. A55-1 returned to Coomalie Creek after its overhaul on 15 August 1944 and the aircraft was written off in a landing accident just two weeks later on 1 September. If preceding assumptions are correct, it is possible that this photo was taken during that two week period. Picture: CPL Cecil Harry Wright Collection
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