I'd like to know if anyone can identify an aircraft from this photo. The man in the photo is my grandfather Joseph White. He didn't talk about what he did in the war and we have been trying to put the pieces together for years. Any assistance would be appreciated. This plane might have been captured so it's a larger pool of aircraft than I would be aware of.enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I think that heavy bomber jacket will rule out the Pacific theater -- you might wear something like that immediately before takeoff (cold up high) but not on the ground where it's 80+ F and 90% humidity -- and he doesn't have his goggles, helmet, or oxygen gear on. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 13, 2020 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely a P-38 Lightning, no question about it. Or the photo-recon equivalent. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2020 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ Did you know that StackExchange also has a genealogy site? You may be able to get more help there now that you know this is a P-38. Fold3 is great if you're trying to find military records. $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2020 at 1:34

1 Answer 1


Based on the wing/canopy position and yoke rather than joystick, I think this is some version of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Everything I can see in the photo agrees with what I can find online in terms of canopy style, relative position of the wing leading edge, and the relatively unusual (for WWII era) yoke primary control.


And what might be another photo of the same pilot, credited as the 475th Fighter Group, actually dressed for work:

47th Fighter Group Historical Association

P-38s of various generations were flown in both Europe and the Pacific -- including the Aleutians, where the heavy jacket would be more appropriate than the Philippines or Coral Sea. They were, as far as I recall, not flown from carriers, however, so it would be an Army (before the Air Force split) or possibly British livery aircraft; that's not discernible in this tight crop.

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    $\begingroup$ I am 99.99% certain you're right - looking at the way the canopy opens and that hole right in the wing root all match the P-38. Some images would enhance this answer. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Nov 13, 2020 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ + the hole in the wing root fairing is a perfect match. I'd say 99.999% $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ And as a sidenote, all of you should do yourselves a favour and read up on the designer of this plane. Legendary. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ What's the hole for? $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Nov 14, 2020 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Mazura I'm not sure. Possibly cockpit ventilation, but that might be a good question to ask separately. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 17, 2020 at 20:16

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