(MIA / KIA) Hawke's Bay, NZ
Crashed December 18, 1942
Built by Lockheed. Constructors number 6613. Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number FH323. Assigned U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-29-LO Hudson serial number 41-37124. Disassembled and shipped overseas from California to New Zealand on Parrakoola.
On April 27, 1942 assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Hudson NZ2054. Reassembled as Unit 13 at Harewood. During May 1942, assigned to 3 Squadron at Whenuapai Airfield and then Henderson Field. No known nickname or nose art.
On December 18, 1942 at 4:50am took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal at piloted by Flight Sergeant Norman J. Newall on a patrol mission over enemy territory. The weather was good with 15/20 mile visibility and few scattered showers. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). It is unknown if this Hudson was lost due to enemy fighters, anti-aircraft fire or other causes. Presumed to have been lost over Rekata Bay on Santa Isabel Island.
Subsequent searches failed to find any trace of the aircraft or its crew. A U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) scout plane claimed to observe a crashed Hudson off Rekata Bay at 7:45.
On August 5, 1945, PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4051 piloted by Smith took off from Halavo Bay Seaplane Base and landed at Rekata Bay. Crew members went ashore with a rubber raft and search for this aircraft and the remains of the crew. The team determined this Hudson had crashed two miles from Suavana Point and located the wreckage, but none of the crew or their remains.
Jenny Scott adds:
"My father was on a team that took PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4051 to Rekata Bay on August 5, 1945 to search for remains of NZ2054. Dad told me they found the aircraft but there was no sign of any human remains in the aircraft. The only other piece of information that I remember dad saying was that a swath was still visible through the jungle which the a/c apparently cut as it crashed - from this and the nature of the diving equipment I don't imagine it was too far from shore or too deep. I have met with the navigator on this trip, Graham Goss, and he agrees with this account."
Fates of the Crew
According to postwar accounts, three of the crew died in the crash. The others swam ashore and were captured by the Japanese. One was severely injured and died on the beach a few hours later and was buried near the scene of the crash. Newlands was transported via the Shortlands arriving at Rabaul during January 1943.
The prisoners were imprisoned at the Rabaul POW Camp and seen by two other prisoners who survived the war and related his story. Later during 1943, prisoners including Newlands were taken from the camp and never seen again, likely executed. No trace of any of the crew have ever been found.
Newall, Mahony, Downard and Andrew
were officially declared dead on December 18, 1942. Newlands was officially declared dead on September 1, 1943. All are memorialized on Burail Memorial at Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery on panel 7.
Some sources list the date of this loss of Hudson NZ2054 as December 19, 1942, this is incorrect.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-29-LO Hudson 41-37124
"37124 to RNZAF as NZ2054 Apr 27, 1942. Failed to return from patrol over central Solomons Dec 18, 1942. It was discovered in Aug 1945 that the plane had crashed into sea at Rekata Bay, Santa Isobel."
ADF Serials - Hudson NZ2054
RNZAF Accident to Hudson Aircraft NZ2054 - 18th December 1942
For your tomorrow: A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915
CWGC - Norman John Newall
CWGC - Albert Patrick Mahony
CWGC - Henry William Manfred Downard
David George Newlands
Richard Talbot Andrew
Thanks to Jenny Scott for additional information
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May 14, 2019