|Pilot Flight-Lieutenant Frederick N.R. Thomas, DFC
Co-Pilot Flying Officer G. Shank
Crew Warrant Officer G. Millar
Crew Sergeant R. Budd
Force Landed September 9, 1944
Built by Lockheed at Burbank, CA. Constructors Number 34645.
Assigned US Navy (USN) bureau number 34645. Disassembled and shipped to Oahu. Reassembled and shipped to New Zealand as part of
On August 10, 1943 assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Ventura NZ4522 and reassembled by Unit 12 at Ohakea Airfield. During September 1943, assigned to 2 Squadron at Ohakea Airfield. No known nickname or nose art. Next assigned to 3 Squadron based at Piva North Airfield on Bougainville.
On September 9, 1944 took off from Piva North Airfield on a mission attacking Rabaul. Hit in the starboard
engine by anti-aircraft fire. Pilot Thomas nursed the aircraft to Talasea Airfield and made a hard landing,
but the crew were unhurt in the crash and later flown back to Piva North Airfield. Since the runway was
too short for Ventura to take off again, it could not be repaired and flown away. Instead, usable components were removed and the aircraft was abandoned.
Remains in situ at Talasea Airfield.
During 1972-1973 parts were recovered from the wreck for use in the restoration
of RB-34 NZ4600 by MOTAT.
Ann Riley (daugter of Thomas)
"He was decorated with an immediate award for this landing."
ADF Serials - Ventura NZ4522
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January 5, 2018