The ink was hardly dry on the Japanese surrender documents ending World War II when Jamestown was planning an air show to celebrate.
The Jamestown Junior Chamber of Commerce made the announcement in the Sept 5, 1945, edition of The Jamestown Sun. The Japanese signed the paperwork to end WWII on Sept. 2 on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri.
Early plans called for the show to occur at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the new $1 million Jamestown airport. The Jamestown airport didn’t have an official name back then so the official reference appears to have been “new million dollar airport.”
Within a few days, a new front page article noted the participation of the Special Events Division of the Army Air Force.
On the list of aircraft planned for the Jamestown air show was impressive. The bombers included the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and the B-25 Mitchell Bomber.
Pursuit planes, sometimes known as fighter planes, included the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lookheed Lightning and the P-51 Mustang.
Also included at the show were an AT-6 and PT-17 training planes. Evidently you don’t name a training airplane.
All of the military aircraft were flown to Jamestown by “combat veterans” who weren’t as busy after the end of the war as they had been a few months earlier.
In addition, the show plans included civilian stunt pilots, parachute jumpers and a display of the latest commercial airliner in the Northwest Airlines fleet.
Reports from the day of the show indicate a C-47 transport, this was the military version of the DC-3 and named the Dakota by the Army Air Force, brought the military commanders into Jamestown.
Every report of the day indicates the event was well received with more than 35,000 people attending.
“Early in the day, cars began arriving on the grounds and at times before the show opened in the afternoon, the lines extended from the downtown business district to the gate of the airport,” wrote The Jamestown Sun.
Of particular note for the crowd was the “Red Ryder” a B-24 that had flown combat missions over Europe and some aerobatics performed in one of the training aircraft by Jamestown native Ray McFadden.
“McFadden flew a PT-19 and gave the crowd everything in the book including a wing over wing roll, snap rolls, loops, inverted flight and dives,” wrote the Sun. “Between stunts he did passenger hopping.”
For the people of Jamestown, it was a chance to see the technology of war that fought a conflict that started on Dec. 7, 1941, and ended just days before. A long period of service for the young men and women of the nation and rationing and worry for the civilian population.
Jamestown residents, and the visitors from the surrounding area, had to think of the deep roar of the big engines that powered all those military aircraft as the sound of victory.