SPECIAL OFFER

The National Museum Of WWII Aviation is proud to announce
an offering of a beautiful First Edition
White 33 Lithograph.
 
Each print is signed and numbered by the artist and comes with Frank Royal's printed signature.
Included with the print is a "Certificate of Authentication" plus a three page history of White 33 and Colonel Frank Royal.
 
• The editon run is 200.
• The print size is 20 x 30 inches.
• Shipping date is November 30th, 2016.
• Your print number is assigned upon conformation of order.
• After your order is confirmed, we will email you a confirmation and the print number you were assigned.
• When ordering, please make sure you put down the correct shipping address and an email or phone number we can contact you with.


 

 

 Price...$135

Includes FREE shipping in the continental U.S. ONLY

 

For our customers OUTSIDE OF THE U.S.

who want to purchase a print you must email us a request to:

National Museum Of WWII Aviation
wwii@larrymcmanus.com

SHIPPING INFORMATION...Please include your shipping address and the quantity of lithos you want to purchase.

QUOTE...We will email you a quote that includes the shipping charge.

PAYMENT...We are only accepting MONEY ORDERS from customers outside the U.S.

 

A Story of Colonel Royal, Captain Sparks, and an Airplane Called White 33

By Gene Pfeffer 20 October 2016

 

This is a story about a Lockheed P-38F Lightning fighter that fought in the skies over New Guinea during World War II.  The aircraft was eventually cannibalized for parts and its hulk buried in New Guinea. Today, that historic aircraft is flying again.  It has been restored to flying condition by WestPac Restorations in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This is also the story about the young men who flew this historic fighter against the Japanese. 

 

Colonel Francis “Frank” Royal, currently a 101 year old Colorado Springs resident, spent two months flying P-39s in New Guinea as part of the 39th Fighter Squadron (FS), 35th Fighter Group (FG) of the 5th Air Force during the early fighting against the Japanese. As a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal became the commander as the squadron transitioned from Bellingham, Washington to the Southwest Pacific. His combat in the P-39 convinced Royal that the aircraft was clearly not up to the challenge of fighting the Japanese Zero.

 

The 39th FS was one of the first to receive the new P-38.  In August 1942, Royal took charge of assembly and testing of the P-38Fs shipped in from the U.S. to Brisbane, Australia. The aircraft now known as "White 33", its identification and radio call sign, serial number 42-12652, was one of the first P-38Fs to arrive in AustraliaIn September, 1942 the P-38s were flown up to Port Moresby and went "on alert" Royal was then transferred to the 35th FG Headquarters. He was then only able to fly occasionally with the 39th. Even so, it was nearly certain that Royal flew "White 33" at some point.  Royal was later called back to the U.S. to help lead the rapidly expanding Army Air Forces. He twice earned the Silver Star Medal.   

 

On December 27th, 1942, coast watchers reported a pending Japanese raid on Allied forces near Buna and the new air base at Dobodura, both about 100 miles northeast of Port Moresby over the 13,000 foot Owen Stanley mountains. The 39th scrambled 12 P-38s.  Tom Lynch led one flight with Dick Bong, later the highest scoring USAAF Pacific ace with 40 victories and a Medal of Honor recipient, on his wing.  Lts. Ken Sparks and John Mangas flew as three and four in the flight. Bong, an experienced P-38 pilot, had joined the 39th from December through February on temporary duty while his own squadron awaited its P-38s. The P-38s intercepted a large formation of Japanese dive bombers and fighters. According to General George Kenney, the commander of the 5th Air Force, American pilots claimed eleven victories. Ken Sparks got credit for two. According to Kenney, Sparks had combat damage while getting the first victory and started an emergency landing at Dobodura when he saw a Japanese aircraft off to the side. Sparks broke off the landing and shot the aircraft down for his second victory. He then landed. Again according to Kenney, the aircraft was repaired sufficiently to make the return flight to 14-mile airdrome a few days later.

 

 

White 33 at Dobodura after the December 31st, 1942 Mission

On December 31st, 1942 a dozen P-38s again led by Tom Lynch escorted a bombing strike against the Japanese airfield at Lae, 180 miles north of Port Moresby. Over the target, Sparks shot down a Zero. He had another Zero brush up against his wing, damaging it and tearing off the Zero's wing. The December 31st engagement was reported by General Kenney as follows, "Sparks got another Nip by ramming him. Both Sparks and the Jap tried to pull out of a head-on attack at the last minute, but they had waited too long. The Jap had all of his right wing torn off and crashed and burned. Sparks lost two feet of his wing but flew the plane back to his airdrome. In the two combats they had so far, the P- 38s had shot down 24 of the 37 Japs they had encountered.”  Multiple sources support that White 33 was the aircraft flown by Sparks on 31 December 1942.  Sparks was eventually credited by the American Aces Association with 11 victories, making him a double ace.

 

In 1943 the 35th FG gave up its P-38s to the newly formed 475th FG as the 35th transitioned to P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft.  The last pilot to be assigned White 33 was Lt. Jerome Gettler. His name showed on the side of the cockpit of the hulk when it was recovered. Gettler flew with the 475th from December 1943 until late February 1944 when he was medically evacuated for a serious illness. The war-weary F model was then cannibalized as newer P-38s moved into the theater. It was buried with other hulks at Finschhafen on the north coast.

 

It was common in the 39th that pilots would often fly other aircraft than the one assigned to them depending on the maintenance status and combat readiness of aircraft.  It is very likely that aces such as Tom Lynch (20 victories), “Sully” Sullivan (6 victories), and “Jack” Jones (5 victories) would have flown it at some point. Given his short stay with the 39th, it is less likely, but possible, that Dick Bong flew the aircraft in combat. Sparks died in an aircraft accident in the U.S. in September 1944.  Lynch, then a Lieutenant Colonel, Lynch died during a combat mission in March 1944.

 

The restoration of White 33 is now complete.  Colonel Frank Royal recently visited the WestPac facility to observe first-hand the rebirth of an aircraft he flew in 1942.  Royal walked slowly across the shop floor with assistance of a cane and one of his sons. "These airplanes were special and treasured," Royal said.

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