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Dear Mr. Malcolm,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution has custody of a microfilm copy of the Air Force and Army Air Force aircraft history record cards. The cards list a plane's serial number, place of manufacture, and manufacturer's contract number, and may include information for each month that the plane was in service, the place of assignment, cumulative flying hours, and any repairs or accidents. They cover information from the date the plane was put into service to the date it was destroyed or withdrawn from service. For access to the microfilm, please contact the National Air and Space Museum Archives, 14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA 20151 or email NASMRefDesk@si.edu.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Thank you for the information. I will follow up with the National Air and Space Museum.
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The site Aviation Archeology Investigation and Research (http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/default.htm ) lists Army serial 41-6164 (ground crews often left off the first digit of the serial when apply the number to the tail of the aircraft) as a Republic P-47C assigned to the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group stationed at Mitchel Field, New York. If I read the codes right, it was written off in a landing accident on 4/10/1943.
The same source lists Army serial 42-8051 as a Republic P-47D assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group assigned to Langley Field, Virginia. The plane crashed into Mobjack Bay, Virginia on 7/16/1943.
I've not found an image of either aircraft online. As to why there were two serials possibly assigned the same name I would conjecture that the P-47C was lost soon after naming, so a second aircraft was hastily named to take the place of its lost predecessor. Accident rates were terribly high in squadrons equipped with new aircraft (P-47Bs, the first production model, only came into service during 1942).
Your response is a delightful surprise. Your explanation sounds reasonable. I'd been told that tail numbers were changed by someone who researched this aircraft for a newspaper article, but it didn't sound right to me. Now it know it isn't right.
Thank you for your effort.