|Pilot F/O William Allan Whetters, 3403 (survived)
Ditched August 26, 1942
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Assigned U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number 41-25143. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number ET467. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
During May 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk A29-110. Assigned to 75 Squadron with fuselage code "J". No known nickname or nose art. This P-40 participated in the Battle of Milne
On August 26, 1942 took off from Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip) near Milne Bay on
a strafing mission against Japanese barges. Foul weather prevented him
from finding the barges or to get back to his base. Running short of fuel, he sighted
a jetty and successfully ditched close to
Sideia Island (Dawson Island off the eastern cape) near Milne
Bay. Pilot Whetters was unhurt in the landing.
Fate of the Pilot
Whetters was rescued by natives in a dinghy, and transported to the nearby
Catholic Mission. With the help of missionaries, Whetters built a pontoon
raft made of logs and attempted to float his plane back to base. As Japanese forces were close, Whetters decided to scuttle
the plane, sinking it. He returned to base and returned to duty.
This P-40 Kittyhawk rests right side up in an underwater
trench in SCUBA diving depth. Located during 1995, during the production of Winged
Ghosts of the Pacific that includes footage of discovery and recovery of the control stick. Later that same year, the flight stick was presented to Mr. Whetters in Australia.
ADF Serials - Kittyhawk A29-110
diary: A29-110 is listed in the losses section of the for August 1942 as being ditched by Whetters and written off.
Ghosts of the Pacific includes footage of this wreck and Whetters
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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June 29, 2019