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  P-40E-1 Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-110 Code J
RAAF
75 Squadron

Click For Enlargement
Andrew Wight 1995

Pilot  F/O William Allan Whetters, 3403 (survived)
Ditched  August 26, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Assigned U. S. Army as serial number 41-25143. Assigned Royal AIr Force (RAF) serial number ET467. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
During May 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Assigned to 75 Squadron with fuselage code "J". No known nickname or nose art. This P-40 participated in the Battle of Milne Bay.

Mission History
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 sucessfully 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.

Wreckage
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.

References
ADF Serials - Kittyhawk A29-110
75 Squadron diary: A29-110 is listed in the losses section of the for August 1942 as being ditched by Whetters and written off.
Winged Ghosts of the Pacific includes footage of this wreck and Whetters
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-40

SCUBA

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