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  F4U-1A Corsair Serial Number NZ5294 Code 74
16 Squadron

Former Assignments
21 Squadron
14 Squadron
22 Squadron

Pilot  Flying Officer Greville Randell, 427230 (KIA, BR) Wellington, NZ
Crashed  January 15, 1945 at 7:25pm

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Constructors Number 5006. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1A Corsair bureau number 49759. Disassembled and loaded as cargo aboard USS Ochoco. On April 13, 1944 departed the United States as part of defense aid to New Zealand.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Corsair serial number NZ5294. On May 19, 1944 reassembled by Unit 60 on Espiritu Santo. On June 1, 1944 assigned to 21 Squadron on Bougainville. On August 8, 1944 assigned to 14 Squadron. On September 9, 1944 assigned to 22 Squadron. On December 21, 1944 assigned to 16 Squadron.

Mission History
On January 15, 1945 took off from Green Island Airfield (Nissan) piloted by piloted by Flying Officer Greville Randell as one of thirty-six Corsairs from 14 Squadron, 16 Squadron and 24 Squadron on a mission against Rabaul.

Returning, the formation encountered bad weather. This Corsair made a circuit of the area before it crashed into the jungle on Nissan Island (Green Island) at 7:25pm. On impact, burst into flames killing the pilot. This aircraft was officially written off the books on Green Island.

Recovery of Remains
Afterwards, the remains of the pilot were recovered and buried. Postwar, transported to New Caledonia for permanent burial.

Thomson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery (Bourail War Cemetery) at grave 8. 9.

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1A Corsair 49738

"49738 (MSN 4985) to New Zealand as NZ5274"
ADF Serials - NZ Serials NZ5294

CWGC - Greville Randell
FindAGrave - Greville Randell (photo)
The Siege of Rabaul (1996) by Henry Sakaida Chapter 17 A Black Day for the Kiwis pages 69-72

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Last Updated
October 13, 2020

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