|Pilot Sgt John Geoffrey Norman Gadsden, RAAF 418828 (survived)
Crashed June 27, 1943
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Assigned U. S. Army serial number 41-36104. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number ET750. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.
During May 1942 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk serial number A29-113. Assigned to 77 Squadron. Coded "U". Painted with the nose art of four flags including the RAAF ensign, Australian flag, Union Jack flag and American flag on the port side of the cowling.
During the night of November 23-24, 1942, S/Ldr Richard "Dick" Cresswell took off flying this P-40 on patrol over the Darwin area when he encountered a "V" formation of three Japanese bombers at 22,500'. After a brief combat, he set fire to the starboard engine of G4M1 Betty 5414 Tail T-359 causing it to crash in flames near Koopinyah Station, east of Darwin.
This action was the first time an enemy aircraft was shot down over the Australian mainland at nighttime; and the first to be shot down over the Australian mainland by a member of the RAAF.
On March 13, 1943 assigned to 76 Squadron. On May 9, 1943 received by No 2 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Mildura Airfield.
On June 27, 1943 took off from Mildura Airfield on a training mission. While flying at 18,000', a fuel line broke causing this aircraft to crash near Mildura. The pilot attempted a forced landing, but was forced to bail out due to a fire in the cockpit which eventually caused the aircraft to explode.
Fate of Pilots
Sgt Gadsden was later promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer (P/O). He was killed in the crash of Wirraway A20-613 on October 25, 1944 and is now buried at the Mildura Public Cemetery (grave C.B.16).
survived the Second World War and also flew with 77 Squadron during the Korean War. He was discharged from the RAAF in 1957 with the rank of Wing Commander (W/Cdr).
P-40E Warhawk 41-35984 is painted in the markings of this aircraft while assigned to S/Ldr Cresswell at Darwin.
ADF Serials - Kittyhawk A29-113
Australian War Memorial Collection Database - Item #P01868.002
Joe Baugher's Website
RAAF DB - J G N Gadsden
World War 2 Nominal Roll - J G N Gadsden
World War 2 Nominal Roll - R Cresswell
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for his assistance with this profile
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January 5, 2018