|Pilot Sgt David
Stuart Brown, 401489 (POW, executed May 26, 1942) South Yarra, VIC
Force Landed April 11, 1942
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army as serial number 41-5532. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
During March 1942, assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This P-40 was to be assigned to 76 Squadron, but was allocated instead to 75 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. During April 1942 flown to 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.
On April 11, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Brown on a mission to attack Lae. Instead, intercepted by A6M2 Zeros and force
landed near the beach at Kwong Point at Salamaua. Brown survived the landing unhurt.
Fate of the Pilot
Brown was taken prisoner
and transported to Lae then to Rabaul for interrogation. He was last seen alive on May 26, 1942 by two American prisoners: Reed and Lutz from B-26 40-1400 on the wharf at Rabaul. Brown was separated from them and never seen again. In fact, he was executed and his remains buried in a mass grave on Matupi Island
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, Brown's remains were recovered and identified from a mass grave on Matupi Island by S/L Keith Rundle during May - June 1947. During 1950, he was interred at Bita Paka War Cemetery at grave H. C. 8.
After the force landing, Japanese forces moved his P-40 onto the shore and attempted to salvage the aircraft. Until the middle 1980s, this aircraft remained in situ, including the engine and propeller.
Rod Pearce recalls:
"I remember playing on this wreck as a child, and an eldery man witnessed it land. According to him, locals assisted the Japanese to move it closer to shore. I heard two different stories about it. One, that it landed wheels down on the tidal flat, and the Japanese pulled it up onto the beach, because there was a road behind it. Another story was the plane landed wheels down, and the Japanese jacked the wheels down and moved it to the beach to salvage it. In the mid-1960s the machine guns were removed."
Steven Mundt adds:
"I visited Salamaua in the fall of 1986, and this aircraft was still on the beach."
During the late 1980s, Ian Whitney salvaged this aircraft by moving it onto a pontoon and planed to tow it to Lae. The pontoon overturned in the Huon Gulf and the wreckage sank into a depth of roughly 600'.
Richard Leahy adds:
"I recall being informed that it was in fact an RAAF plane, and about
its removal and loss. It looked to be a total wreck.
Do not know why anyone would bother removing it."
ADF Serials - P-40E A29-38
CWGC - David Stuart Brown
World War Two Nominal Roll - David Stuart Brown
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 4, 2018