Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 13, 2019 8:31:52 GMT 12
Last night while going through some records i copied at Archives New Zealand I discovered that 75 years ago today, on the 13th of March 1944, Curtiss P-40M Warhawk NZ3072 left Guadalcanal for the last time as it started its journey back home to New Zealand, where it would become a No. 4 Operational Training Unit training aircraft. This fighter was the "Wairarapa Wildcat", New Zealand's most famous fighter plane, made famous for being the personal aircraft of No. 14 (F) Squadron's ace Geoff Fisken, but it was also flown by many other pilots in various squadrons while at Guadalcanal and had several victories to its name. Back in New Zealand it was flown by possibly hundreds of trainees, and it survived the war to be stored at Rukuhia and sold there to scrap dealer Jack Larsen. I was recently told by Charles Darby that the aircraft remained in the Rukuhia graveyard right up till 1982 before finally being scrapped. So sad this famous aircraft was never saved for a museum.
When I first started becoming interested in P40's I noticed that 'they' had external landing gear indicators. I remember showing them to my dad , who flew P40's as part of OTU 2. He said " What are those ?" (the indicators) I told him what they were and he replied " Well, we never had any of those !" I was somewhat taken aback that he had no memory of them. Since then I have discovered 'they' didn't all have them. I think the late model M-10 was the first to get them. NZ3072 was an M-5 so didn't. Otherwise it would look, from the outside at least, very much like Liz Needham's N-1. Just some mindless triva after all. Might help identify a likely candidate for NZ3072 amongst the RNZAF P40's in photos ?
Last Edit: Mar 14, 2019 23:54:31 GMT 12 by Brenton : Trying to make more sense of it