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  P-40N-15-CU Kittyhawk Serial Number NZ3199 Tail 69
16 Squadron

Pilot  Flying Officer K. W. Starnes, 41173 (survived)
Ditched  December 24, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors number 30156. Assigned U. S. Army serial number 42-106394. Disassembled and shipped overseas.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal New Zeland Air Force (RNZAF) as Kittyhawk serial number NZ3199. Reassembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot, Hobsonville Airfield on November 24, 1943. No nickname or nose art. Squadron tail code "69". Assigned to 16 Squadron.

Mission History
Took off from Ondonga Airfield at 6:25am and landed at Torokina Airfield on Bougainville at 7:35am to refuel. This P-40 took off from Torokina Airfield at 10:00am on a fighter sweep over Rabaul. Over the target, this P-40 became separated from its flight leader and paired up with another plane instead and both were attacked by roughly ten Zeros and Starnes' aircraft was badly damaged.

Returning over Cape Saint Georges, Starnes noted "Passing Cape St. George, there was light A/A, medium intensity and inaccurate. This was fired right from the tip of the Cape, the gun emplacements being plainly visible." Off Bougainville, this P-40 became uncontrollable and crash landed in the sea about a mile offshore Torokina in 7-8' of water and Starnes had no difficulty reaching shore and returned to duty. Officially written off the books on January 31, 1944.

Later, Starnes died on September 18, 1944. He is buried at Bourail Memorial at grave 8. 7.

ADF Serials Kittyhawk NZ3199
Air-To-Air page 227, 232, 233
CWGC - Keith Walter Starnes

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018


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