Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F4F-F Wildcat bureau number unknown.
Assigned to either the United States Navy (USN) or United States Marine Corps (USMC). During 1942 or 1943 operated from Guadalcanal. No known markings.
This Wildcat ditched into Gavutu Harbor off Gavutu Island.
During November 2011, this aircraft was discovered upright on a sandy bottom at 40m depth during a sonar survey by HMNZS Resolution (A14) and confirmed as a F4F Wildcat by Ewan Stevenson. This F4F-F Wildcat is intact, with the engine broken off the mount, canopy missing and damage to the wings.
Afterwards, dubbed "The Gavutu Wildcat". Since the discovery this aircraft often dived by technical divers from Raiders Hotel & Dive.
This aircraft is yet to be verified by the U. S. Navy (USN) bureau number or other identifying markings. Possibly this aircraft is F4F-4 Wildcat 12084 piloted by 1st Lt. James E. Swett ditched April 7, 1943.
Ewan Stevenson adds:
"I dived the Gavutu Wildcat last week [late August 2018]. I was the first diver on site in Nov 2011. I was also very fortunate to be watching the sonar screen on the bridge of the HMNZS Resolution (A14) when it was found. The sonar technician excitedly exclaimed , "OH -- there's a plane!". It is still looking good but the plating on the side of the tail is falling off and cracking. The pitot tube was 100% intact but careless divers or anchoring on site have smashed it off. The tail is looking very fragile and will break soon as it is supporting the weight of the tail grouping. I dubbed it the "Gavutu Wildcat" because I liked the sound of the word 'Gavutu' but I think the plane is closer to Tanambogo."
Archaehistoria - Solomons November 2011 "During the survey of Tulagi Harbour, Resolution also located previously undiscovered wrecks of a US Grumman Wildcat Fighter Aircraft"
Archaehistoria - Navy Today December 2011 "The identified wrecks included... a US Navy Grumman Wildcat, a carrier-based fighter aircraft"
Historic Aircraft Wreck Found. Is This The Wildcat Of US Ace James E Swett? by Roderick Eime
Raiders Hotel & Dive - Diving & Other Activities - Gavutu Wildcat (photo)
Ewan Stevenson and Roderick Eime
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September 5, 2018