Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 28709. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-5-CU Warhawk serial number 42-104947. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron. Assigned to pilot Captain Ernest A. "Ernie" Harris. Nicknamed "The Carolina Belle". On the left side of the fuselage below the cockpit was painted "Capt E. A. Harris". Below was a single row of Japanese flags indicating aerial victory claims.
In New Guinea,
Harris flew this aircraft and claimed seven aerial victories. Afterwards, assigned to another pilot who claimed two additional aerial victories. Later, this P-40 was flown to Finschafen
Airfield and was written off, stripped of usable parts and the rest of the aircraft was buried nearby.
This aircraft remained buried near Finschafen
During 1997, the fuselage and pieces of the tail were excavated from the ground with a bulldozer by Robert Jarrett / Classic Jets Fighter Museum (CJFM) from where they were buried at Finschhafen
Airfield. On the left side of the fuselage was the olive drab green paint and the pilot's name "Capt
E. A. Harris" painted in white plus ten victory
flags. Afterwards, exported to Australia.
Between 1999 until at least 2001, the recovered wreckage was displayed at Classic Jets
Fighter Museum (CJFM), combining the fuselage of this aircraft with wreckage from other planes to make a more complete looking display.
Robert Jarrett adds:
"Murray Griffiths and I did a swap, Murray gets Carolina Belle in exchange for P39F 41-7215 which was statically restored by Ian Mullins in Queensland. The P-39 was disassembled to supply patterns for Murray's three flying [Aira]cobra projects. Capt. Ernest (Ernie) Harris was the highest scoring ace in the Pacific war in P-40 Kittyhawks and this will be Murray's new P-40."
Since 2005, the center section of this aircraft was displayed at Precision Aerospace / Pacific Fighters Museum in their restoration area. On June 15, 2017 registered in Australia as VH-AIN to Precision Airmotive Pty Ltd, 171 Trakton Road, Whorouly, VIC 3725.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-5-CU Warhawk 42-104947
"104947 (MSN 28709) on display in 1977 at Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia in condition as found when recovered from Finchaffen, Papua New New Guinea 50 years after crashing there in 1943. Traded to Precision/Pacific Fighters Museum at Wangaratta Airport, Victoria ca 2005. Put on display in restoration area. 104949 (8th FS, 49th FG, "Kathleen II") flown by Lt Dan David who changed his name to Dan Rowan (of the Rowan and Martin "Laugh-In") after the war. Aircraft DBR Oct 24, 1943 in Hopoi area of Papua New Guinea. Ended up in Australian registry as VH-DEA [sic, VH-AIN]"
Australian Civil Aircraft Register - P-40N-5-CU serial number 42-104947 registration VH-AIN
Robert Jarrett and Murray Griffiths for additional information
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June 29, 2019