|Pilot Sgt Ronald Summerson Bailey, 401770 (MIA / KIA) Merbein, VIC
Crashed March 28, 1942
Built by Curtiss. Delivered to the U. S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk serial number A29-5. Assigned to No 75 Squadron with fuselage code "E".
On March 28, 1942 this P-40 along with P-40E Kittyhawk A29-12 piloted by F/O J W Piper took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 13:10 hours to intercept a large formation of Japanese aircraft approaching.
At 14:00 hours F/O Piper, at 10,000 feet, sighted three Japanese bombers about 8,000 feet above being escorted by two Zero fighters approximately 4,500 feet above that.
F/O Piper saw this aircraft being chased by a Zero approximately 20 to 30 miles north of Kekeni Rocks near Redscar Bay approximately 50 miles northwest of Port Moresby.
At 16:07 hours P-40E Kittyhawk piloted by F/O Piper took off to search for Sgt Bailey's aircraft, but returned at 17:40 reporting that he had seen no trace of an aircraft or parachute. An extensive search for 10-14 days also returned no results.
The remains of a P-40 were later located by Lt. Bishop from the Australian Army in a swamp near Veimari Plantation. Lt Bishop recovered some pieces of the aircraft, but was unable to recover the remains of the pilot.
On March 29, 1947, F/Lt Coape-Smith and F/O Cogswell of the RAAF Searcher Team located the crash site, however there was no sign of the aircraft or pilot and locals stated that it had since sunk into the swamp. The pieces of aircraft wreckage Lt Bishop had recovered were found on a log platform approximately 300 yards from the crash site - serial numbers on these pieces confirmed that the aircraft was Kittyhawk A29-5.
Sgt Bailey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is commemorated on the Port Moresby Memorial at the Bomana War Cemetery on panel 9.
CWGC - Ronald Summerson Bailey
ADF Serials - Kittyhawk A29-5
RAAFDB - Kittyhawk A29-5
RAAFDB - Ronald Summerson Bailey
44 Days pages 137-138
Thanks to Greg Williams and Daniel Leahy for their assistance with this profile
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January 5, 2018