Dave, You still have 3013 as HQ-A with 14 Sqdn, which I think is very unlikely considering they still had the original HQ-A (3007) functioning throughout this period. However I cannot offer a more likely candidate from the selection available! Dave D
Ah yes, I missed that earlier, I have now removed it. NZ3013 was actually serving with No. 17 Squadron at Seagrove when No. 16 Squadron took it and NZ3008 over from 17 SQN on the 30th of March 1943, and flew them both to Woodbourne to act as replacements for two aircraft they lost.
Dave, The Servicing Unit histories are mostly available at Archives NZ in Wellington, although most tend to be fairly skimpy. However the 2 SU and 4 SU ORB's seem to have been typed up by the same person, and both have what appears to be a fairly comprehensive list of all members of each unit as they departed NZ, including full initials and trade. They also have quite a few subsequent postings in and out, and amazingly they also have quite a bit of information on their aircraft, although they never mention any code letters or numbers apart from that one mention of Freeman's choice. However there are NO unit histories for 11 SU and 13 SU, nor for 3 or 5 SUs during their time in New Zealand. However there is an ORB for the little-known 26 SU at Ardmore. The NZ-based SUs (3, 5, 11, 14, 26, 31) generally disappeared into Maintenance Wings after a big reorganisation in about July 1944, and became known as Servicing Squadrons. Unfortunately neither Maintenance Wings nor Servicing Squadrons were required to maintain unit histories, so they didn't! However you will notice that many of the aircraft at Ardmore and Ohakea, involved in accidents, do have details of their parent unit and there you can find mentions of 1 SS, 3 SS, etc. David D
Thanks David, yes all I found were lists from No. 4 SU of personnel movements, not actual O.R.B.'s as far as I could find, while searching Archway. It is aircraft movements that also interest me. A pity they did not record what their bloody codes on the fighters corresponded with, although we have most of No. 4 SU sorted, but the other Pacific fighter S.U.'s remain full of mystery.
I note that each Pacific station - Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Piva, Jaquinot Bay, Nausori, etc, has its own O.R.B., do these actually help in understanding what aircraft and what people were where, and when?
Dave H, RNZAF Pacific stations, FHQs, etc., do not include any details on aircraft markings or allocations, but do give useful information on units arriving and departing, and also quite a bit of information on aircraft arrivals, transfers, etc., and also occasionally provide aircraft serial numbers. Also usually record details of officer arrivals, departures, promotions, etc., but generally very little on airmen unless they were unfortunate enough to be killed or injured. In other words pretty much what you would expect to find in Royal Air Force (or American military units for that matter), with practically nothing on aircraft markings except under the most unusual circumstances - I believe that some RAF units mention in early-June 1944 that they were applying black and white stripes around the wings and rear fuselages of their aircraft, but little else. However aircraft details WERE of interest to engineer and equipment officers, but these were not usually recorded on the Form 540, but on special forms designed for the purpose. 75 (NZ) Squadron at one stage filled out details in the ORB of aircraft arriving and departing, including mark numbers and serials, as well as the origin/destination units, and personnel movements (commissioned and non-commissioned) of course were also recorded faithfully on forms originally titled as "Casualty Reports". However Casualty Reports by WW2 were crammed with all sorts of other information besides casualties (missing, killed or injured) and had added promotions, commissionings, reversions, hospitalisations, decorations, dismissals, courts martials, marriages and birth of children (the latter affected pay rates of course, which was of interest to the Officer i/c Records at the Air Ministry!) In the middle of the war the "Casualty Report" was superseded by a new form titled as the "Personnel Occurrences Report", better known as the POR. In the mid-1950s this report was renamed the PON, for Personnel Occurrences Notice, and probably included even more information.
The only good sources of information about aircraft movements are in normal information and engineering files, such as "Movement of fighter (or Bomber, or Flying Boats) to Pacific stations" which covers the subject pretty well - if somebody decided many years ago to retain them that is! I have seen one such for fighters, another for Hudsons and Venturas, and one for flying boats coming back to Lauthala Bay for major inspections, and there are others like "Aircraft : Corsair : Supply : Re-equipment of Squadrons at Pacific Locations" and the like. But only some survive. And do not expect to find anything on aircraft markings in these either - this was just not of any interest to the officers corresponding on these subjects, but they did like to include serial numbers of aircraft, and their allotment numbers.
"Identification codes" on aircraft, whether of the RAF three-letter type, or simpler numbers based on the last digits of their serial numbers, were only ever intended for tactical purposes, so that personnel could identify aircraft on airfields, or even in the air, at a greater distance then would otherwise be possible, often by repeating the letter or number on various parts of the aircraft so that it could be visible from different angles. The larger numbers on tail surfaces were also intended to be big enough to be read by control tower staff with binoculars as the aircraft made a fast run over the runway on return from operations, and copied what the Americans were already doing. However Air Department in Wellington generally knew little of these marking and identification systems (and cared even less) as all they needed to know was what happened to individual aircraft by serial number (accidents, loss, movements). In fact all military services were (and still are) much of the same mind, and enthusiasts are often amazed that there is no available means of finding comprehensive information on code numbers and letters. So in this respect, New Zealand is no better or worse than other nations we compare ourselves with. Even the RAF threw out most files on their famous two-letter unit identifications codes at some point post-war, and enthusiasts have spent the last 60 or 70 years trying to work them all out again with what little correspondence remains. I imagine that the same would go for most if not all other military services - the "tactical" number codes were only of interest to the tactical commanders at the time - what the men and women who administered these vast aircraft fleets scattered all around the world required was information (location, unit, accidents, etc, on specific aircraft identified by their unique serial number.
Sorry to ramble on so, but this subject has always interested me, and I am constantly hearing from people who wonder where all the aircraft serial number/tactical code numbers/letters are to be found - they are quite distressed when told that they not only do not exist, but the central authorities were never interested in them in the first place. The only time they are sometimes requested is when the remains of a long lost aircraft is found and they are having trouble in identifying its unique serial number because of extensive damage or long-term corrosion, etc. They have to try and prepare a short list of possible candidates, and sometimes attempt to find any tactical markings that they were wearing when lost, and so logically go to the operating unit of each aircraft in turn to locate these. The RAF seems to have retained records many of the code letters of lost aircraft (often found in their ORBs, but not always), particularly Bomber Command ones. IF the wreck is found decades later, the original personnel of the unit will have been long dispersed, so the surviving written records are their only hope.
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 19, 2018 11:51:31 GMT 12
A nice little breakthrough today, I discovered that No. 14 Squadron's Douglas Cocks noted the serials AND the codes for the P-40's he flew at Guadalcanal in Feb-Mar 1944, and a number of them were not on the list here, so I have therefore added these new additions:
Just goes to show what a good resource logbooks can be and how frustrating when families of veterans who have passed away think noone would be interested in their logbooks and throw them away. Good find!
The Auster should be recognised for what it is: a gentleman's aerial touring carriage and a nice aeroplane.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 8, 2019 21:43:23 GMT 12
An awesome breakthrough in this research - when we were at Wigram on Monday looking through the Air Force Museum of New Zealand Archives material, Bevan and I discovered a full list of the "Tongan" P-40E's and P-40K's matched to their buzz number codes that were painted on their cowls. It has added significantly to the research and will also help to cut down mix-ups between these 23 aircraft that were based in Tonga, Fiji and Santo, and the aircraft of No. 1 Servicing Unit that were based in Guadalcanal, which apparently used the same cowl numbers. So pleased to have added these into the list.
Washington would probably be the last place to ask if your were interested in the number of aircraft actually on RNZAF strength in WW2 at any given time. However this was because they were primarily interested only in the numbers of OPERATIONAL aircraft available, and generally they could get these figures from their own theatre commanders, as they had full details of the resources under their command. However in the hectic days of 1942 the Americans were desperately keen to learn the numbers of operational aircraft held by the RNZAF in NZ and the South Pacific, mostly for general intelligence purposes, and to assess the total numbers of Allied aircraft in-theatre versus enemy aircraft suspected of being in the same, or adjoining theatres. Later in the war the Canadian authorities were rather keen on compiling the whereabouts of all British Commonwealth training aircraft as part of the general oversight of the BCATP resources, and this extended to the numbers of spare aircraft engines of all types, including serial numbers of aircraft, and even engines! I think the RAF (who always had a fair idea of the aircraft strength of the RNZAF) was perfectly happy to leave the job of overseeing the Commonwealth training resources to Canada, as the former had more than enough to do in overseeing the production and managing all the RAF's operational aircraft, including those of American manufacture. The book-keeping for all Lend-Lease aircraft was in the hands of the Americans in Washington, and they generally knew where they all ended up, although the whereabouts of any particular aircraft at a given time was not always known due to diversions, or issues of second-hand aircraft within operational theatres, such as the Tonga P-40s to the RNZAF. However any conflicting information on specific aircraft could usually be resolved by the army of bureaucrats in Washington, by means of normal correspondence by mail with suspected beneficiaries of these aircraft, who would always quickly inform Washington if they had NOT received a specific aircraft, and could sometimes even intimate where the aircraft in question had ended up. No doubt some of these problems could have taken some considerable time to resolve. David D
Last Edit: Sept 30, 2019 14:54:46 GMT 12 by davidd