No-one seems to have commented on it so far, but the 'Warhawk' at 3.14 and 3.27 is an earlier P-40 variant (`K'?) rather than the 'clear canopy' variants which make up the majority of the machines in the newsreel.
Since it is unlikely that a lone example of an earlier version still be would be front-line service amongst the later versions, can anyone explain the anomaly?
I don't see any early K models. I do see M's (earlier canopy, long tail, cowling air inlet with the small round holes) and I see early N models, probably N-1, which also have the older style canopy.
The early K model has a distinctive shape to the fin and I didn't notice that anywhere in the film, there might be a K-15 in there. There are photos around of NZ3060 (K-15) leading a strike with M models, so there was mixed models operating at the same time
M's, N-1's and N-5's would probably all have been operating together at the same time. They were all the later generation of P-40.
I think (not sure!) that the M and N1 had the same windscreen as the later N5/15/20 with the DV window on the left side of the windshield?? I've seen photos of M models with it or with the older windshield.
They might have been changed in the field as spares were used up.
Last Edit: Dec 27, 2016 7:39:02 GMT 12 by noooby: Atrocious spelling errors and such!
Graham.A Propulsion and System Lead Typhoon Legacy
I agree with noooby, there are no 'early' (P-40K, M) on here, would be N-1s and later. This film was made in about May 1944 at Torokina and Piva Bomber strip, by which time the last of the Ms had long ago returned to the rear area (Espiritu Santo or Guadalcanal) or NZ, and the Ks well before that. All the earlier aircraft at Guadalcanal with 1 SU (and swapped to 2 SU in early October 1943 at Ondonga, New Georgia) were numbered from "1" upwards, and all aircraft up to "47" were Ks and Ms. By December 1943 the final Ms in service at Ondonga (and staging through Torokina on the way to escort bombers to Rabaul) were aircraft coded 18 (3071), 19 (3072), 31 (3079), 34 (3112), 43 (presume 3085) and 45 (thought to be 3087), with the last recorded by 16 Squadron pilots being 18 and 45 on the 19th December. Thereafter only P-40Ns were in use in the forward area. David D
Well, something different Dave! Probably most of this film taken at the Treasuries base (Between Mono and Stirling Islands) where the No. 6 Squadron detachment was based on the US Navy seaplane tender COOS BAY [rendered in the Official RNZAF history as KOOS BAY just to confuse everybody!] The airfield complex viewed from the air at end of this film is Green Island. As noted on the film in various places, all this taken in period January to March 1944. David D
Some interesting points to note: 1. The dress of the crew was very casual and no flying suits used, just shorts, shirts socks and boots and with the US soft hats. 2. In the last sequence the gun shield on the port blister has 4008 and the starboard 4014. Were these numbers associated with specific aircraft originally, and were shields swapped around for maintenance purposes?
Apparently a US Navy photographer (he was a photographer by profession and lived well into the 1990s, and into his own 90's) was a certain Lieutenant Commander Horace Bristol, USNR, and he accompanied an RNZAF PBY crew based at the Treasuries (USS COOS BAY) on a real-life Dumbo mission.
They managed to drag a severely dehydrated USMC F4U pilot out of the sea in St Georges channel (from memory, it was during the period shown on the video), he was in a bad way. Horace captured numerous images of this rescue (b&w of course) and in the 1990s he decided to make them into a bit of an art display, and made many enlargements.
The display was apparently very popular and included one of one of the blister gunners "in the buff" apart from his lightweight boots, as he had donated his flying suit to the American, and some of the crew members did not wear any underclothing anyway because of the heat and humidity.
Horace wrote to the RNZAF Museum and asked if we could locate the names of the crew, and the name of the American pilot, and guess who got the job of trying to solve this one! However quite a few years later I had a letter from Warren Russell of Dog Island fame, and would you believe it? He had received a plea from that very same USMC pilot asking if he (Warren) knew the identities of the Catalina crew, so I decided to make an attempt once and for all to identify the crew - my original search remained in a frustrated state, as I did not at this time have full details of all the RNZAF Dumbo pickups, and all that Horace could tell us was the he THOUGHT the captain was a warrant officer, and that PERHAPS he had previously been serving with the RAF.
I then made a long search of the "donation files" held in the Museum files room (there were LOTS and LOTS of files, thousands in fact), remembers this may have been ten years later, but try as I might, could not locate the Bristol letter. It was not helped by fact that there was only one file for donations, as most donations included many diverse items, so there was no file "photographs" for instance, and I did not have the date of the letter. However I had by this time located more details of the rescues and thought I had a possible identity for the PBY captain, but did not have very complete lists of individual crew members.
There are good photographs of most of the RNZAF's wartime Catalina crews but the negatives have no crew identification on them.
However I had taken notes many years before from a large photo album held in Wellington by National Archives (now Archives NZ) which just happened to have prints from these same negatives, with the addition of the captain's name. Sadly my searches of my own vast "archives" have so far failed to locate my old notes, although I do not doubt that the album in Wellington with National Archives still exists.
Incidentally, since those days I have also compiled a detailed list of all aircrew trained at the wartime Catalina OTU (Laucala Bay), and now have pretty complete crew lists. One of these days, I will (hopefully) pull all this together ..... David D
Post by Dave Homewood on May 7, 2020 13:34:45 GMT 12
David, the story is here and that photo is well known but the site reckons it was a US Navy Dumbo Catalina. I hve seen at vaious times over the years saying he was US Navy and RNZAF, depending where published.
Herewith, what I believe to be the crew that included "the naked gunner"! This information from the document which detailed most of the RNZAF "Dumbo" rescues carried out by the Treasuries Detached Flight between 9th February and 3rd April 1944, based on AVP COOS BAY.
18th February 1944. "While on Dumbo standby between Torokina and Rabaul, Flight Lieutenant J R McGrane received a message to proceed to Cape St George. A PV-1 (not an RNZAF one) was sighted circling a raft in position 4.53S, 152.45E. Dumbo landed and took off with the survivor - Second Lieutenant J G Morris, USMC, VMF-218, based at Torokina. He had been shot down over Gazelle Peninsula on the 9th or 10th February (1944) while covering a strike on Vunakanau airfield. He carried his life raft through the jungles and finally floated down a river into St George Channel on the night of 16th February. He sustained facial and eye injuries and was suffering from exposure.'
Am now typing up composition of the McGrane crew, will add this to board when finished.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 8, 2020 13:39:16 GMT 12
David I agree, it was a Kiwi Cat, and I do recall seeing that photo of the naked air gunner in RNZAF News, probably around 1991-93 if you want to check the archive copies, because I am sure it was when I was at Wigram.
The J R McGRANE crew, Treasuries Detachment, USS COOS BAY.
9/2/44; Two Catalinas and three crews proceeded from Halavo Bay to the Treasuries for Dumbo duties.
PBY-5 NZ4019 (F/L McGrane crew) and 4020 (crew of F/O G C HITCHCOCK). The third crew members (under F/O J A HENDRY) were distributed between the two Catalinas.
The McGRANE crew (known as No. 5 Crew at this time).
Captain, F/L J R McGRANE.
2nd Pilot, F/Sgt Harry Alexander FARMILOE (NZ424442)
Navigator, F/O Ross Ashmere Fleming LAURENSON (NZ425019)
WOAG, F/Sgt Albert William ORMSBY (NZ413275)
WOAG, F/Sgt William Henry HEATH (NZ415531)
F/Eng, Sgt Reginald Alfred WARNER (NZ40355)
Fitter IIA A/G, Sgt Jack WAKEFORD, TAF (NZ437052)
Air Gunner, Sgt Walter LEADLEY (NZ429151)(promoted to F/Sgt on 15/2/44, w.e.f. 26/12/43)
Special Note, standard RNZAF Catalina crew at this time was nine men, so there should be another Fitter IIA Air Gunner, possibly Sgt D R S Melville. My belief would be that the mystery gunner is either Wakeford or (possibly) Melville. Generally speaking, the "straight" air gunner (in this case Leadley) manned the front turret, while the two "tradesmen" air gunners manned the rear blisters. The tradesmen Air Gunners were just that, qualified technical tradesmen, usually Fitter IIEs or IIAs. For most of WW2 the two RNZAF Catalina squadrons did NOT list the full crew in the ORB, often just the captain, which can present a major stumbling block for researchers.
The McGRANE crew returned to Halavo Bay from ASR duty at the Treasuries (USS COOS BAY) on 1/3/44.
Dave H, Have just located the letter from the USMC pilot ("Captain Jack Morris") dated 24/4/96, addressed in first instance to Warren P Russell, Invercargill, although he noted it was postmarked in USA (Windsor California) on 4/4/96 - figure that out! It seems that Morris hoped to catch up with his rescuers from February 1944, and gives a brief account of his adventures in his raft, although he does not say what caused him to bale out of his Corsair in the first place apart from confirming he was "shot down" - presume flak. However he provides a reasonable summary of his rescue. As he was rather blind when fished out of the sea, he never actually saw the "naked gunner" at the time, so probably knew nothing of this well-built young man until perhaps the US Navy sent him some of Horace Bristol's images. Morris comes across as a very humble man, and states: "I was extremely grateful to them, but being distracted by a serious eye injury, I never fully expressed my thanks to them. I would like to locate them and somehow make up for my negligence. If you have a way of locating at least one of the crew members from these planes, I would be deeply appreciative." (He was also aware of the Ventura scouting about and assumed this was also a NZ aircraft, but I am fairly certain it was US Navy). Morris made a trip to Rabaul earlier, in 1991, and learned that his old aircraft had been found by geologists, out in the wilderness, "about 25 miles south of Rabaul", in the area between Warongoi and Sigule Rivers, where it had lain for 42 years. "All six wing guns remained, along with all the ammo." Much of the wreck was apparently taken later to the Kokopo museum, a little to east of Rabaul proper. Warren sent me a copy of this rather humble letter, hoping the Museum might know of the whereabouts of any surviving crew members, but as I said, we did not get very far for various reasons. However we are now somewhat better informed, but I doubt that Jack Morris is still with us. Still a great yarn, even though the "naked gunner" is the only one remembered these days. We might still get an identity, even if rather too late, and there is no doubt we at least have the right crew now. David D
Post by aircraftclocks on May 9, 2020 23:24:04 GMT 12
U.S.S COOS BAY (AVP 25) Has the following entry in the war diary for 18 February 1944:
PBY5, Patrol Plane Commander F/Lt. J.R. MC GRANE, R.N.Z.A.F., effected rescue of Second Lieutenant Jack G. MORRIS, U.S.M.C.R., VMF 218, from a life raft at 04° 53' South, 152° 45' East, after his plane (F4U) had been shot down over GAZELLE PENINSULA, 9 February 1944.
Thank you for that aircraftclocks, seems as though we have many readers with access to interesting official documents. For Dave H, there were no times quoted in the 6 Sqdn records for this rescue, and the rescue was not even mentioned in the normal 6 Sqdn ORB as it was away from base. However the Detachment must have kept its own records to enable the squadron to later compile the narratives for all the rescues they were involved in, whether successful or not. David D