|Pilot F/Lt Alister Whyte Buchanan, 1304 (MIA / KIA) Masterton, Wellington, NZ
Crashed December 24, 1943
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 28459. Assigned U. S. Army serial number 42-104697. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Kittyhawk serial number NZ3165. On July 8, 1943 reassembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot and BOC at Hobsonville Airfield. Assigned to 17 Squadron with tail code "L". No known nickname or nose art.
On December 24, 1943 one of 48 Kittyhawks that took off on a fighter sweep over Rabaul, one of five P-40s shot down by enemy fighters. Officially, this aircraft was written off books on January 31, 1944.
This P-40 force landed or crashed wheels up at Undor Plantation near Lananai Cove on southern New Ireland. On June 12, 1973 this aircraft wreck was first reported. No remains of the pilot were found. Afterwards, New Zealand authorities visited the crash to search for the pilot, but no remains were found. During their visit, the team removed engine data plates and markings from the wreckage to aid in identification.
Buchanan was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at the Bourail Memorial at Bourail War Cemetery on panel 3.
Air to Air describes the December 24, 1943 mission and this loss
ADF Serials Kittyhawk NZ3134
CWGC - Alister Whyte Buchanan
Thanks to Brian Bennett for additional information.
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January 5, 2018