ADF Serials Newsletter

For those interested in Australian Military Aircraft History and Serials

ã 2003

November 2003

In this Issue:


Editor’s blurb: This week Australia commemorated the 85th Anniversary of the armistice that ended World War 1, "the war to end all wars". I attended the ceremony along with some of my colleagues and the address was a sobering reminder that our Defence Force personnel are still serving in a number of locations around the world. We hope that they all return safely from their deployments. In my "other job" I have been compiling biographies of our World War 1 diggers who were killed during the war that was unveiled at the Penrith RSL after the ceremony. Eighty plus years on, it is often difficult to research our soldiers and highlights the importance of ex Defence Force members recording their experiences for posterity. This month the newsletter contains some of Jack Brown’s story from WW2. My thanks to Bob Schuster for being able to reprint it in the newsletter.

This month Gordon continues his examination of the P40E/E1 operations in Australia with new material being unearthed as he writes! Len provides some information on a restored Cessna, Ivan has been busy updating the NZ Serials pages which are a credit to him. Darren explains how the ADF Serials site was born and has continued to grow! We have some people requiring assistance with research items and read about the changes with the RAAF Heritage Awards.

Until next month,



Newsletter bits and pieces

Our newsletter is a year old and our circulation continues to grow each month! We currently have plans to provide an online index to the newsletter to assist researchers. More about this next month.



How the ADF Serials Website began...- Darren

I get asked this question a lot, but due to the number of emails I get

each day and the need to keep responses brief to get around to them all I usually answer in a stupid way like 'a brief moment of insanity that I'm still paying for'.

The real answer of how I got into it goes something like this;

For the last 10 years or more I have travelled to airshows and have taken photographs of aircraft that appealed to me at the time, sometimes I wish I'd just taken pictures of everything. Some old aircraft were targeted but most of the time

it was more modern aircraft. Not that I'd consider myself an expert photographer but I'd say that I have had a little luck now and then but I am getting better.

As time went on I wanted to find out more about these aircraft and found that of the older aircraft I photographed a lot had previous military service. So I joined some email groups, hit the web and purchased some books and started to find what I could on the aircraft I had photographed. As I found information on the photo's I'd taken they formed the basis of the website 'Darren's Aviation Pages' which is now offline. By going online I found that as people visited I got more and more information. But of course why not go all the way?

Not long after this I managed to get my private pilot’s license and along with a couple of other people departed in a Piper Archer around the coastline of the mainland of Australia. On this journey we saw a lot of old aircraft and while we didn’t have the luxury of each taking a camera due to weight restrictions seeing all these machines gave me an idea. When we returned and while surfing the web one night I saw an advert for a FREE domain name for 1 year. While I thought that this was too good to be true I took up the offer and registered The choice of name was a mistake as I had another name in mind, but it appears to have turned out well. I purchased some server space and before I knew it we were off.

Somehow I managed to get married and stay married while doing a lot of

typing to get the site under way. With two children it’s not easy! With the help of hundreds of people we now have the site as it is today. But instead of spending all my time typing and researching I find I use about half my available time co-ordinating with other people who help with pages and answering emails. The website crew help me a lot to with information and editing pages I simply couldn’t get around to as the

amount of incoming emails increase. The rest of my time on the website goes into updates for the pages but as time goes on I find I have less time for this.

The website is now a major project, one we will never finish!

A check of the ADF Serials website state reveals the following:

Oct 2002 6130 people visited the site – an average of 197 per day

Oct 2003 15504 people visited the site – an average of 500 per day.

On 22 Sep 2003 the website size was 50.3Mb with 1035 aircraft page images and 70 images on the crash site pages! [Ed]

Positions Vacant – ADF Serials website

The following positions are vacant. If you are interested in assisting the ADF Serials group with any of these positions please contact us via the feedback line:


Airforce Aircraft

Moderator; (position vacant)
This email research group is for the research and discussion of only current serving Royal Australian Air Force aircraft.


Navy Aircraft

Moderator; (position vacant)
This email research group is for the research and discussion of only current serving Royal Australian Navy aircraft.


NZ Aircraft

Moderator; (position vacant)
This email research group is for the research and discussion of NZ aircraft operated by the ADF. This group is intended to cover all periods and services.


US Aircraft

Moderator; (position vacant)
This email research group is for the research and discussion of US aircraft operated by the ADF. This group is intended to cover all periods and services.


NZ Updates – Ivan

The website has received a lot of favourable feedback about the NZ serials site which reflects the amount of work and dedication that Ivan puts into this part of the website. Ivan has recently completed some major updates to these web pages including the addition of images of Skyhawk, Andover and King Air images. Please check out the updates at:

Stats on the NZ Serials pages:

As of 22 Sep 2003, these pages totalled 4 Mb and 75 images.


RAAF Heritage Awards – going, going…gone?

The November 2003 Air Force News reported on the suspension of the RAAF Heritage awards until 2005 due to a review into all aspects of the awards to "ensure they meet Air Force’s requirements while remaining attractive to the whole community." The review is to be completed by December, but will not allow time for implementation for the awards to go ahead in 2004.

The awards began in 1987 and there are 3 categories of entries – art, literature and photography. Over recent years, the number of entries has decreased in each category.

If you would like to provide input into the review, please email the feedback line and I will provide you with the email address of Wing Commander Nigel Biginell who is completing the review. ANY INPUT MUST BE SUBMITTED BY 28 NOVEMBER 2003.


Can You Help?

Sea Venom crash off NSW South Coast

Ian Gibson was shown a photo of the remains of what looks like an RAN Sea Venom, Coded 865, which was dredged up by a CSIRO research vessel in the late 1980’s. The aircraft was reputed to have been lost "about 28 years to the day" from the time of recovery. I know the time frame is hazy, but do you have any details? I cannot find any reference to an RAN Sea Venom being lost off NSW in the N$- Serials web page.

Catalina Crew – Enderby Island in the mid 1940’s

Rod Taylor is trying to find out about a Catalina crew stranded on Enderby Island (near Dampier) during the 1940’s, which he thinks, may have been an RAF plane piloted by a QANTAS crew.

Edward Foster – Navigator WW2

Jeff Newman is trying to find the number of any Lancaster flown with navigator Edward Foster of Bradford, England who was seconded to 467 Sqn (RAAF) and completed 30 ops before being transferred to 227 Sqn via 26OTU. The number is needed so that Jeff can start an oil painting of a Lancaster.

If you can assist Ian, Rod or Jeff, please email: and we will pass it on.


Jack Brown RAAF WW2 417694 – interview with Bob Schuster

Recently Bob Schuster interviewed a WW2 RAAF Serviceman named Jack Brown. Some of the interview has been reproduced with the permission of Bob Schuster.

Brisbane "Courier Mail" Newspaper 30th,October, 1944.

AUST.’FOREIGN LEGION' – Reg Harris, Courier-Mail War Correspondent

LEYTE, Oct. 25 -A "Foreign Legion" of one RAAF officer, 19 RAAF other ranks, and four AIF men provided a welcome and surprising sight for Australian war correspondents in Tacloban, capital of Leyte.

The RAAF men include LAC Noel McCullough of Brisbane. We had believed Americans and Filipinos were the only ground troops participating in the Philippines campaign with officer observers drawn from the English, Canadian and Australian armies.

The party of 24 is retaining its Australian identity by wearing slouch hats and jungle greens. None has had leave for 14 months during which they have been attached to the United States Fifth Air Force in Australia and New Guinea as signal specialists. All are in high spirits and proud of the very responsible roles they have to fill in this campaign.

New South Wales men in the Party are : Flt Lieut Mick Richardson (Sydney), Cpl Harry Mills (Bondi), Cpl Stan King' Manly), LAC Alf Bobin (Woollahra), LAC Walter Mapstone (Bexley), John Boon (Mosman). and Sgt Thomas Killingsworth (Sydney).

Victorians are : Cpl Max Jamieson (Melbourne), Cpl Alan Schou, (Melbourne), LAC Dave Wishart (Pascoe Vale), LAC Coffin Gear (Fitzroy), LAC Clifton Moulton (Melbourne), and LAC Eric Hedley (Caulfield). Other RAAF men are Warrant Officer Rouse (Perth), Cpl Ron Sims (Mt. Gambier, S.A.). LAC Jack Brown (Adelaide), LAC Les Williams (Spalding, S.A), and LAC Irwin McKillop (Hobart).

The AIF members are Warrant Officer Fetes Hall (British Army, attached to the AIF), Sgt Archibald Turnley (Melbourne), Sgt Harry Rasmussen (Melbourne), and Cpl Alan Rodgers (Sydney). Squadron Leader F. C. Bibby, RAAF (Camberwell, Vic), is also here as a signal officer. He was a wireless operator in Lockheed Hudsons, and escaped from Singapore shortly before the surrender. Later he was an instructor at an officers' training school in Victoria.

So how did a young man from Adelaide end up attached to the US Air Force in the Philippines?

Alfred Jack Brown (Jack) was born on 14 June 1924 and in 1941, aged 17, volunteered and was accepted as Air Crew in the Royal Australian Air Force. He was placed on reserve until he was 18. Around the same time he joined the Air Training Corps (ATC) and enlisted as the first cadet in South Australia. It was during Jack’s service with the ATC that he learnt Morse code. He received extra tuition from Mr Bill James, a World War I Signals man who was teaching "local" boys, joining the RAAF, the mysteries of Morse code. In July 1942 Jack joined the RAAF hoping to train as a pilot. Unfortunately, like many other trainees, Jack was not selected for pilot training and in his own words:

"I had a natural aptitude for Morse code and the RAAF asked me to volunteer again, this time for unknown, interesting work. I accepted and joined the Pacific Intelligence Organisation as a Japanese KANA Intercept Wireless Operator and Translator (KANA meaning either of two Japanese syllabic scripts Hiragana or Katakana)."

Jack worked for approximately three years as a K ANA operator and served with 1 Wireless Unit in Townsville, Port Moresby, Nadzab (PNG), Biak and Hollandia (Irian Jaya, formerly Dutch New Guinea) before transferring to 6 Wireless Unit. Jack continues:

"Prior to the invasion of the Philippines on 20th October 1944, the KANA group I worked with was seconded to the United States of America armed forces and we served with their 5th Air Force, 6th Army and 7th Fleet. The KANA group were the only Australian servicemen to operate on Leyte Island, Philippines, for the start of the invasion and liberation of the Philippines."

As a result of service with the US forces, each member of the KANA group, including Jack, was awarded three United States of America Commendations for "Devotion to service which is beyond the strict limitations as to what we know a 'Line of Duty' " and has since been awarded six United States of American Commendations.  He also received the Philippine President's Unit Citation" and is an honorary member of the 96th Infantry Division Association.

For those who might be interested in reading more on this subject, details of the wireless units may be obtained from

Thanks again to Bob Schuster for providing this interesting story for our readers [Ed]

P-40E/E-1 Operations in Australia Part Four Amendment A – Gordon B

I was reluctant to have this Part Four re-written and printed due to the nature of "incoming" information arriving almost daily over the last few weeks. Because of the additional information, I have refrained from trying to marry-up the official aircraft cards and convoy arrival dates with individual aircraft. Why? Simply put, it’s an exercise that cannot be done due to the disparity of post updated aircraft cards (sometimes between three months and two years later) and convoy arrival dates. I feel I’ve gone as far as possible at present without access to the actual cargo manifests of those deliveries.

Previous printed histories of deliveries have stated around 329-344 airframes were delivered up to the 9th March 1942. After adding up all of the consignments, we have the extraordinary number of 435 P-40E/E-1s delivered. I have also, for the first time provided some side profiles of the aircraft mentioned in these essays. Unbelievable? Read on.

US Convoy Shipments to Brisbane 15/01/42-04/02/42

Following the formation of this reinforcement plan, all shipments then destined for the Philippines were re-routed to Brisbane for unloading, erection and assembly of the P-40Es, whereupon they would be organised into provisional fighter squadrons and flown to Java. The arrival list of ships and their P-40E cargo are as follows:

Not all of these were unloaded at this port as events as shown later necessitated that 37 of these crated airframes be transhipped to two other vessels, for a last ditch effort to reinforce the beleaguered forces in Java. That story will be told in Part 5.

Following on the 4th of February 1942, another ship arrived in Brisbane:

During unloading of this last shipment, an ambitious plan to have small ships to run the Japanese blockade of the Philippines was being created. One such ship, the SS Anhui, a Chinese registered merchant ship was chartered by the USAFIA (US Army Forces in Australia) to carry, amongst ammunition and rations, three crated P-40Es. Currently I am researching this particular shipment

The SS Mormacsun, after it was unloaded of its cargo of 67 P-40Es, was then loaded with some 6000 tons of rations/supplies for shipment to the Netherlands East Indies. The idea was that this ship was not to venture into the combat area, but to tranship its supplies to smaller blockade-running coastal steamers. I haven’t found out to date whether this voyage was attempted.

More P-40E Consignments that came to Australia 20/02/42-03/03/42

On 20/02/42 another arrival:

On the West Coast at Fremantle:

The 18 crated P-40Es left on the Fremantle docks were serialled:
41-5734 to 5744 and 41-13521 to 13527. These were a diverted Defence Aid consignment intended for Russia. They were later transported and assembled at Cunderdin, Western Australia (156 miles east of Perth) for 77Sqn RAAF. (Tony Banta has today his N940AK P-40E aircraft painted up as one of them, 41-13521, of all things! That P-40E became A29-49 in 1942.)


On 25/02/42 another arrival:

On 03/03/42 two further arrivals:

The Second, Third and Forth Provisional Pursuit Squadrons

Following the arrival of one hundred and twenty two P-40Es on the 15th of January 1942, assembly commenced in earnest so that another two Provisional Squadrons could be dispatched to Java. The first P-40E accident since the departure of the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Prov) happened on the 23rd of January 1942. From this accident, the first P-40E fatality occurred in Australia. A 2nd Lt. Hamilton was alighting off the wing of his recently landed P-40E, when another landing P-40E’s wing tip struck him in the middle of the back. He died of those injuries a few hours later.

The next day, 2nd Lt. Jack R. Peres crash-landed at Amberley Airbase, resulting in his P-40E 41-5456 Black #36 suffering undercarriage, wing tip, mainplane, aileron, flap and airscrew damage.

2ndLt Jack Peres’s P-40E-CU 41-5456 #36 Black later shot down at Darwin 19/02/42

Again, building upon their experience and establishing logistical support, these two provisional squadrons, the 20th & 3rd Pursuit Squadrons (Prov), respectively commanded by Capt. William Lane Jr. and Capt. Grant Mahoney, were formed.

These two squadrons were hastily staffed by the limited number of Philippine veterans and with a greater ration of inexperienced pilots from the United States. The 20th PS (Prov) departed on the 29th of January 1942 with twenty-five P-40Es from Brisbane to Darwin via Charleville, escorted by B24A, 40-2374. However they lost two P-40Es in accidents en route. One left at Charleville. One other was lost at Cloncurry by fire.

In any event, only one replacement P-40E provided was flown up by, Lt. Allison Strauss before the squadron left for Timor in two flights on the 4th February 1942.

Fourteen made the first crossing, with the flight being intercepted by Japanese fighters on arrival at Koepang, Timor. Losses were heavy, with only 6 making their final destination. The second flight wasn’t intercepted, however it did lose one aircraft at Lombok Island when it crashed there landing.

Of the twenty-four P-40Es to make the crossing, in two flights, only 14 P-40Es made it to Blimbing, Java

The 3rd PS (Prov) departed on the 6th of February 1942 from Brisbane to Darwin with twenty-five P-40Es via Charleville. It had a heavy loss in numbers during its transit, with five damaged enroute to Darwin. Two flyable aircraft returned to and remained at Darwin (2nd Lts. Buel & Oestreicher) pending arrival of reinforcements and a mothership to escort them to Timor. Following this unsuccessful trip, only 8 of the 3rd PS (Prov) reached Blimbing, causing a major rethink on the part of the USAAF on how to get singe-engine aircraft to Java. In any event, the Japanese invasion of West Timor on the 19th/20th February 1942 (Surrender on the 23rd February 2003) closed this route and a new plan of action was needed.

A reinforcement convoy to Koepang Timor carrying an AIF Pioneer Company and US Army National Guard Artillery Regiment to protect the airfield there, escorted by the USS Houston, was being shadowed by a Mavis flying boat. A request by the commanding Officer of the USS Houston was issued to the senior USAAF Officer at Darwin to have a pursuit aircraft intercept and destroy the flying boat.

Lt Wheless ordered 2nd Lt Robert J. Buel to fly to the estimated north–east position and intercept the aircraft. He did so, but was later lost whilst shooting down the shadowing IJN Mavis off Bathurst Island on the 15th of February 1942 at around 14.30hours. The convoy eventually returned to Darwin on the 17th February 1942, having been ordered back when indications that the Japanese were posturing for invasion of Koepang. That invasion happened on the night of the 19th February 1942.

NB: had the 33rd PS (Prov) arrived there on the 19th February1942 to provide fighter cover of the Koepang airfield, the INJ Carrier covering force may well have destroyed it on the ground there.

Thus the defence of Darwin was now down to a single P-40E – that of 2nd Lt Robert Oestreicher - till the arrival of the diverted flight of the 33rd PS (Prov) from Port Pirie.


2ndLt Robert Buel’s P-40E –CU 41-? #54 White 3rdPS(Prov) lost on the 15/02/42:Author


The Re-directed 33rd Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) A Flight.

Up to this stage the number of P-40E accidents was increasing due mainly to the fact that most of the Philippine veteran pilots of the evacuated 24th Pursuit Group had by now been sent to Java. This also had the effect of exhausting most of the erected P-40Es of this time.

A few experienced pilots were left in Australia, including Lt. Buzz Wagner, who had suffered glass splinter damage to his eye earlier in the Philippines campaign, mainly to train and lead the final two pursuit squadrons to be raised, namely the 33rd and the 13th PS (Prov).

The arrival of the third shipment of 70 P-40Es on the USAT Monroe on the 30th of January 1942 in Australian waters, provided for enough aircraft to establish these last two squadrons.

On the 10th of February General Barnes directed the 13th and the 33rd PS (Prov) to fly to Fremantle, Western. Australia, with their 50 P-40Es. The first Flight of the 33rd PS (Prov) under the command of Captain Floyd S Pell (on promotion list for Major) left on the 12th.

At Port Pirie, in order to satisfy the need to protect convoys forming in Darwin for support of the Java campaign, orders were given to direct this flight of 15 P-40Es to Darwin. At a later appointed time, they were to ferry to Koepang Timor to provide fighter coverage, after being relieved by advance units of the 49th Pursuit Group, just beginning to form.

Three 33rd PS (Prov) P-40Es were left at Port Pirie to follow on later, including 2nd Lt. Bryce Wilhite, 2nd Lt. Borden, and 2nd Lt. R E Pringree, who was to complete his repairs to his P-40E on the 19/02/42.

The diverted flight headed north along the northern railway line to Alice Springs. 2nd Lt. Dick "Mac" Suehrs had a tail wheel tyre puncture at Oodnadatta. 2nd Lt. R Dores in his P-40E crash-landed at Alice Springs. From Daly Waters, the Flight proceeded to Darwin.

On take-off, 2nd Lt Robert McMahon struck a parked RAAF tractor, damaging the under carriage of his P-40E, but he continued on.

With only 60 miles to reach Darwin, 2nd Lt Dick Suehrs crash-landed 60 miles south of Darwin.

After recuperating from his injuries he was transferred to the 39th FS of the 35th FG to fly P-39Fs in April 1942. He finished the war at the rank of Major, flying P38s, retired from the USAF in 1968, and is still alive today.

The remaining 33rd PS P-40Es arrived late afternoon on the 15th of February 1942 at Darwin, joining the surviving airworthy 3rd PS (Prov) P-40E of Oestreicher. Another 4 3rd PS (Prov) P-40Es were in 12 Sqn RAAF Hanger being repaired or salvaged for parts.

However back to the P-40E piloted by McMahon. It was damaged further when the undercarriage collapsed on landing at Darwin on the afternoon of their arrival. They spent the next three days getting their P-40Es serviced and ready.

For McMahon, he obtained a second P-40E. This was one of several abandoned as unserviceable by the 3rd PS (Prov) and effected repairs to it. This became "Bahootie the Cootie No II" following repairs, but was damaged on landing following it’s test flight when landing at RAAF Darwin on the 17th February 1942. He now turned his attention and eagerness to repair a third abandoned 3rd PS (Prov) P-40E to make flight to Java. We know that one of the first two P-40Es had the Black Box number of #22, but which one? We’re 70% sure it was "Bahootie the Cootie No II".

Whether he had time to "personalize" his third P-40E with another of "Bahootie the Cootie"(as No III) caricature is open to question. But he was ready to fly on the 19/02/42. (Robert McMahon is still alive today).

Historians, including the 49th FG authors of "Protect and Avenge" have previously stated that a photographed aircraft named "Mac" (Page 33) was an early 8th Pursuit Squadron Aircraft.

However before the 8th PS moved north, an order from USAFIA on the 28th March 1942, ordered all red colours to be overpainted by white paint on all markings. This was done before the April move.

On examination the original photograph of this P-40E crash, you would notice the structure on the horizon above the firewall, the Water tanks of RAAF Darwin. There is another name and cartoon caricature on the other side and that there is in existence, a photograph of which I have examined.

What was certain was that McMahon had painted on his second aircraft, "Mac" on the starboard side, thus we have here is a 33rd PS (Prov) P-40E, and indeed one of the most sought after serials of P-40 Researchers, I give you "Bahootie the Cootie No II"

2ndLt Robert"Mac"McMahon 41-? #22? 33rd PS (Prov) "Mac" crashed at RAAF Darwin 17/02/42

The other side, McMahon’s 33rdPS (Prov) "Bahootie the Cootie No II" Darwin 17 /02/42: Author

The Darwin Raid 19/02/42

This day was the day that the 33rd PS (Prov) was scheduled to complete its transit to Timor. Having taken off in the morning at 09.15hrs they returned to Darwin for weather front was forming near Timor. Five P-40Es landed to refuel while five (including Oestreicher’s 3rd PS P-40E) provided top cover. A flight of twelve Zeros from the IJN carrier Kaga under the command of Lieutenant Masao Sato, came in behind them. 2nd Lt. Robert G Oestreicher alerted the top cover flight (made up of five P-40E's) by yelling "Zeros!"

2nd Lt. Jack Peres was the first of the 33rd Pursuit Squadron pilots to go down. 2nd Lt. Elton S Perry was the next to be shot down into the sea.

The next casualty was 2nd Lt. Max Wiecks whose aircraft was disabled in flight by the concentrated Zero fire and tactics. He managed to bail out into the sea.
During this time 2nd Lt. William Walker was under attack, suffering injuries to his shoulder. He managed to extract himself from the fray and perform an extraordinary feat by crash landing at RAAF Darwin.

Meanwhile Oestreicher, credited with shooting down one Zero A6M2 and two Vals, decided after exhausting all of his ammunition to nose down at full throttle to evade the Zeros. He was last seen crossing Darwin in the direction of Daly Waters at treetop level at around 350 knots.

On the ground on receipt of the warning given by the pilots of the covering flight, Pell ordered his men to scramble. Pell was first up, desperately trying to gain speed and height, but was attacked by another flight of twelve Zeros, under the command of Lieutenant Shigeru Mori, from the IJN carrier Hiru. At around 80 ft and 2 miles from the threshold of the northern end of the airfield, Pell baled out of his P-40E. He did not survive. His aircraft landed not far away on a mud flat.

The next to be lost was 2nd Lt Charles Hughes who was strafed on takeoff. He died in the aircraft.

2nd Lt Bob McMahon managed to get airborne and stayed low and fast. He witnessed a low opening chute, which for all intents and purposes had to be Pell. He turned south near Lee Point, some seven miles north of the strip.

There at 200-300ft he ran down via East Point, Fannie Bay to Darwin Harbour along the coast (witnessed by members of the 14th AA Battalion 2nd AIF). He flew over the ships in the harbour at mast height, including the USS Peary (1190 Tons) and the SS Zealandia (6682 Tons). (There is a photograph of this event of a P-40E over-flying the SS Zealandia, see AWM) He then climbed to engage a Kate that had just finished its bomb run.

The return fire from the Kate and the unnoticed fire from a Zero caused damage to his hydraulics. His landing gear dropped down and the resultant drag left him in a precarious position. McMahon stated that he wasn't aware that he hadn't clipped his sash belt on. When the undercarriage dropped, he slid forward into his gunsight. The Zero's fire eventually caused his engine to fail and burn; with the drag and the damage done by the Zero, it was time to get out.

McMahon abandoned his P-40E between 1500-2000 ft and parachuted to safety with slight injuries. His aircraft crashed near Waterlilly Creek, south west of Darwin and hasn't been seen since.

Both 2nd Lt. Burt Rice and 2nd Lt. John Glover in #36 41-5456 got airborne but were met by the marauding Zeros. Rice was last seen in a flat spin, before his aircraft crashed and 2nd Lt. Glover managed to nurse his damaged ship over the threshold of the RAAF base and survived the subsequent crash-landing and cartwheel.

In a matter of 15-20 minutes all 33rd PS (Prov) P-40Es were apparently destroyed, but one P-40E did survive! A 3rd Pursuit Squadron (Prov) P-40E, "Miss Nadine" of 2nd Lt Robert Oestreicher

The Lone P-40E Survivor of the Darwin Raid story told at last after Sixty-one years

Contrary to most historical writings of the last sixty-one years, Oestreicher survived the fight and managed to fly on to RAAF Daly Waters late that day with some damage. Here repairs were effected over the next few days, whilst he waited for further orders.

Following the arrival of direct orders from General Brett, he was to return to Amberley as soon as possible once an escorting "Mothership" was found.

On the 28th of February 1942 he accompanied a Dutch Lodestar to Cloncurry, which was intended to shepherd him then onto Charleville and then finally Amberley. That wasn’t to be, as Oestreicher’s

"Miss Nadine" ran off the end of the runway and ploughed through the runway threshold fence on landing at Cloncurry. It was heavily damaged. The airframe was salvaged and sent by rail to the south. That’s where the trail runs cold.

2nd Lt Robert Oestreicher finally arrived at Archerfield, but on that very Lodestar.

2nd Lt Robert Oestreicher’s P-40E –CU FY41-#?"Miss Nadine" 3rd PS (Prov): Author

In Part Five, I will complete the history of the Provisional Squadrons, with the "Unlucky" 13th PS (Prov). From there, Parts Six-Seven will follow the establishment and early operations of the 49th Pursuit Group.

Onwards from there we will finally get to Part Eight, the establishment of 75 Squadron RAAF.

Thanks for contributions by Shane Johnston (33rdPS (Prov) Researcher), Buz Bushby (Ultimate P40 Researcher), Gordon Clarke (RAAF P40 Researcher), Bill Bartsch (USAAF History and Book Author) and others for their help.

A special "thanks" to Bob Livingstone for all his help in assisting the production of this article.

Bookshelf -

Updated information on For Your Tomorrow

Errol Martyn, author of For Your Tomorrow, has contacted us re his book. In addition to the 300 limited edition copies are the hardbacks, a softcover edition is also available. If you want further information please use our feedback page and we’ll pass it on to Errol.

Has anyone heard about David Eyre publishing a new "Encyclopedia of Aircraft…?" If so, please let us know via the feedback link:

Army Aviation Update - Cessna A98-150 - Len

For those who maybe interested, a piece of our Army Aviation History, Cessna A98-150, was test flown today (Friday 14 November 2003). This is the first flight this aircraft has had since it was damaged at Avalon back in August 1986.

"We" had been under the impression that the aircraft had been written off, after it was damaged at Avalon, but that is obviously not the case.

The aircraft eventually ended up in the hands of the current owner, Carl Boulton, and was subsequently moved to Lismore where it has been rebuilt to flying condition.

The aircraft was introduced into service with "Army Aviation" in August 1962 and saw service in Vietnam during the aircraft in Vietnam during the period Jul 69 - Jan 70.

It is my understanding that the aircraft is still in need of a total repaint however, it is part of our Army Aviation history and the fact that it is now back to flying condition is a credit to the owner and a flying tribute to Army Aviation.

Carl Boulton initially contacted me after he had purchased the aircraft in 2000 and I have been in frequent contact with him since. I have been able to provide him with a considerable amount of history of the aircraft, both written and pictorial, with the help of a number of Possums and others within the Army Aviation Family.

With A98-150 now back to flying condition we now have at least four Army Cessna 180's on the civil register that are capable of being flown.

Now that A98-150 is back to flying status I will look at organising a 'Fly-in' to Oakey and the Museum of Australian Army Flying (MAAF) during 2004 of all the ex Army Cessna 180's, plus any other Army aircraft, and have a 'gathering' of those who would like attend. This will give us the opportunity to meet the people who own the aircraft and more importantly check out these aircraft, which are fine examples of our Army Aviation History.

Not forgetting that we have A98-045 at the MAAF. In my opinion, this aircraft is without doubt the ultimate example of Army Aviation History, although we have a MkIII Auster at the MAAF that would possible challenge that statement.

A98-045, was introduced into service in October 1961 and along with A98-043 were the first Cessna's to be deployed to Vietnam in Sep 65 and it was the last Cessna withdrawn from operational service in Feb 71.

In addition, 045 was the first fixed wing aircraft to land on Luscombe Airfield at Nui Dat on 31 Oct 66. It did the equivalent of four tours of duty to Vietnam and except for a couple of our fixed wing Possums, the remainder of the fixed wing pilots, posted to 161 Recce Flt, flew A98-045 during their tour of duty.

This aircraft was last flown in April 1988. However, it is maintained in pristine condition at the MAAF.

Great news Len – we look forward to providing details of the 2004 fly-in at a later date [Ed].

On this Day…

1 Nov 51 77 Sqn is awarded a Republic of Korea Presidential Citation for its early service in Korea as an effective ground-support unit.

5 Nov 50 For the first time in Korean War, 77 Sqn flies in support of 3RAR in the Pakchon- Sinanju Road area, Korea.

8 Nov 44 "G" for George arrives at Amberley. This aircraft flew 90 operations with 460 Sqn and toured the country supporting war loans before being presented to the AWM.

19 Nov 40 3 Sqn involved in first aerial engagement with enemy near Sofali.

19 Nov 48 Tiger Moth A17-738 piloted by FLTLT R McKay crashed into the ground during aerobatics at Schofields aerodrome, NSW.

19 Nov 90 Macchi A7-045 piloted by FLTLT R Page crashed into the sea northeast of Williamtown after the left wing failed during air combat manoeuvres. Pilot ejected and was hit by the aircraft. His parachute did not open and he died after hitting the water.

27 Nov 39 Inauguration of the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) which resulted in over 37,000 Australian airmen being trained under the scheme in Australia, Canada and Rhodesia.

28/29 Nov 42 FLTSGT Rawdon Hume Middleton attached to 149 Sqn RAF (Bomber Command) won the Victoria Cross posthumously after a raid on Turin. Though seriously wounded, Middleton flew his damaged bomber to within sight of the English coast, ensured that most of his crew had safely ejected before crashing into the sea.

Thank you to Dean and his aircrew losses research, the Australian War Memorial’s "This Month" and the RSL Diary for dates for this month’s On this Day segment- Jan


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