Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour


PERES, Jack R<br /><br />

Kittyhawk about to land.

Jack Peres was born in 1920, the son of Louise and stepson of John A. Peres; he had a sister named Leona. Jack spent three years of college training to become an actor, and never married. 

Peres enlisted in the Air Corps on 31 December 1940 in March Field Riverside, California (service number 416707).

At the time of his death Peres was a second lieutenant under Major Floyd Pell of the US 33rd Pursuit Squadron. On 19 February 1942, the ten remaining members of Pell’s squadron were ordered to return to Darwin during a flight to Koepang because of bad weather. Jack Peres was in B flight and had been ordered with the other members of his crew to circle overhead and provide cover for Major Pell’s A flight while they landed on the Darwin RAAF field.

Zeros were spotted by the pilots in the air. The P-40s broke formation and released their supplementary fuel tanks. The pilots were unseasoned and inexperienced young men; instead of climb-turning to meet the Zeros, they dived away. The Zeros dropped down from their up-sun positions and picked off the second lieutenants.

Second Lieutenant Jack Peres tried to outdistance the Zeros by flying inland on a south-east course, but was pursued by two enemy planes. Stricken by enemy fire, the P-40 crashed into bushland east of Darwin. Peres’ aircraft and his remains were located on 7 September 1942, near Gunn Point; his remains were still in his aircraft and were identifiable by an engraved watch.

Peres was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General MacArthur. He is buried at Santa Barbara Cemetery, California.

Can you tell us more about this person? Please contact us.