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  Spitfire "Nipponese" Mark Vc Serial Number A58-145 Code UP-V
RAAF
79 Squadron

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AWM September 11, 1943

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Phil Bradley 2001

Pilot  F/Lt Llewellyn Wettenhall, 400109 (MIA / KIA) South Yarra, VIC
Crashed  December 31, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Supermarine. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number EE852. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Spitfire serial number A58-145. On April 17, 1943 assembled by 1 AD. Coded "UP-V" with Merlin engine number 93749. Nicknamed "Nipponese" with the nose art of a girl and a white painted tail. Operated from Kiriwina Airfield.

Mission History
On December 31, 1943 one of six Spitfires that took off from Kiriwina Airfield on "Mission 86". This aircraft's call sign was "Yellow One". After crossing the southern coast of New Britain Island, the formation entered thick clouds. Wingman "Yellow Two" could hear Wettenhall on the radio but apparently could not transmit over the radio. This Spitfire was never seen again and reported as Missing In Action (MIA) approximately thirteen miles from coast of New Britain. In fact, this Spitfire crashed near Kimbe. It is unknown if the pilot bailed out prior to the crash or died during the crash. Officially written off on January 13, 1944.

Memorials
Wettenhall was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Bitapaka War Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial, panel 34.

Wreckage
During the 1990s, this aircraft was located by local people and reported. During March 1999, a RAAF Searcher Team visited the crash site. No trace of the pilot was found at the time. Little wreckage was located. During the visit, a landing gear strut and other wreckage were recovered by the RAAF and transported to Kimbe.

Display
The recovered wreckage is stored and display at the Sam Remo Memorial.

References
NAA "AMSE Approval to Write off per File 9/16/1314"
ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-145
CWGC - Llewellyn Wettenhall
RAAFDB - Spitfire A58-145
The history of this crash written by RAAF 30th Squadron Beaufighter pilot, George Robertson from Rockhampton.

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

 

Tech Info
Spitfire

MIAMIA
1 Missing
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  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
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