Lillian's Limousine Reborn?


In October we got an email and a picture from Lee Openshaw. In it, he says that his grandfather, Robert Openshaw, was in China during WW2. Lee found a picture of a P-51 named Lillian's Limousine in his grandfather's things and decided to 'Google' the name. He found us and wrote us an email.

After examining the pictures, we noticed that Robert must have been working as a mechanic in a reclamation yard? The second picture is the main reason for this assumption.
The first picture is much more perplexing. We know that Lillian's Limousine was lost to anti-aircraft fire (in the radiator!) on March 29, 1945. Herman (Kirk) Kirkpatrick was with 'Mac' on the mission to Amoy on that day, and from his account we know that 'Mac' did a pushover maneuver to pop out cleanly, and the plane went in hard. Here is Kirk's assessment: "I doubt very seriously that any salvage was attempted on Macs airplane, there were NO US forces within a thousand miles of the crash site. The airplane went in almost vertical as the trim had been rolled all the way forward with the stick held back. This resulted in a pop up reaction to toss the pilot out. Maybe the Chinese took some bits and pieces but no way or reason they could have filtered back to US control."

We had been thinking that there a salvage operation performed, but that seems unlikely now.

We don't know what to think about the plane in the picture. Is it the original Lillian's Limousine? We had been thinking that they had salvaged the panels under the exhaust. But maybe the lower panels were replaced before the aircraft was lost? Notice how the bottoms of the two L's and the e are cut off. Also, the original did not have the '62' stenciled on it. We cannot be sure of this, however, so the debate remains open.

If there is anyone out there who may have any information, we would love to hear from you!

Picture #1

The reborn Lillian's Limousine with Robert Openshaw at the controls.



Picture #2

Robert Openshaw in China reclamation yard.



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