Leader Peter St George Bruce Turnbull, 481 C.O. 76 Squadron (KIA, BR) Glen Innes, NSW
Crashed August 27,
Peter Turnbull was one of the leading fighter pilots in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He was the commanding officer (C. O.) of 76 Squadron. In total, he was credited with 12 victories in North Africa
and at New Guinea. He was awarded the DFC.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Assigned U. S. Army serial number 41-25164, but canceled on April 28, 1942 and allocated 41-25166 instead. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia. Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). On May 18, 1942 assigned to 76 Squadron with code IW. No known nickname or nose art.
On May 26, 1942 while taxing at Weir Airfield near Townsville, this Kittyhawk was damaged when the right wing collided with the wing of P-40E Kittyhawk A29-93. Afterwards, both aircraft were repaired. Next, flown to New Guinea and operated from No. 1 Strip (Fall River) near Milne Bay. During August until it crashed, this aircraft participated in the Battle for Milne Bay.
On August 27,
1942 took off from No. 1 Strip (Fall River) near Milne Bay on a mission to search for and strafe Japanese positions near K. B. Mission. Soon after take off, this Kittyhawk crashed near Sanderson Bay. The cause of the crash was never established,
but it was believed he was hit by small arms fire.
The wreckage of this Kittyhawk was first located on September 4, 1942. Afterwards, the crash site was visited by Australian forces stationed in the area.
During the war, one of the 50 caliber machine guns
was recovered from the wreck by 61 Battalion and is today displayed at the Australian War Memorial.
During the early 1970s a New Zealand collector was halted from exporting the wreck. He had transported portions of the wreckage to the dock at Milne Bay for export. The rest of the wreckage remains in situ to this day.
Recovery of Remains
On September 4, 1942 Turnbull's remains were recovered when the crash site was located. He was temporarily buried at Dowa Dowa in a grave marked with a wooden cross that incorrectly listed his date of death as "30.8.42".
On September 14, 1942 No. 3 Strip was renamed Turnbull
Airfield in honor of this pilot.
Later, he was permanently interred at Bomana War Cemetery at A2. C. 27.
CWGC - Peter St George Bruce Turnbull
RAAF DB - Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk A29-92
RAAF DB - SL Peter St George Bruce Turnbull
ADF Serials - P-40 Kittyhawk A29-92
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May 13, 2018