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|Pilot P/O Kerry G. Byrnes, 403903 (MIA / KIA) Wagga Wagga, NSW
MIA December 12, 1944
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 30723. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-20-CU Warhawk serial number 43-23540. Assigned NEAF serial Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
In January 1944, assigned Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) as P-40N Kittyhawk serial number C3-525 and later serial number J-325. During February 1944, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as P-40N Kittyhawk serial number A29-601. Assigned to No. 82 Squadron, no known nickname or nose art.
On December 12, 1944 took off from Kamiri Airfield on Noemfoor Island piloted by P/O Kerry G. Byrnes armed with a 500 pound bomb as one of four Kittyhawks on a dive bombing training mission in the vicinity of Ransiki. At 11:10am, this aircraft was observed to go into a dive and level out, the release of the bomb was not seen. The pilot of the three other aircraft participating in the exercise saw nothing at the completion of their dive bombing runs and returned to base. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, forty search sorties were flown in search of this aircraft. One search by four aircraft were flown the day of the loss, two searches were flown by four aircraft were on December 13, 1944 and one search was flown by four aircraft on December 14, 1944. A final search was performed by a ground alert squadron on December 18, 1944. All searches had negative results.
Byrnes was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Lae War Cemetery on the Lae Memorial, panel 6.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-20-CU Warhawk 43-23540
"23540 ordered by NEIAF, to RAAF Feb 1944 as A29-601."
RAAF Accident Report for P-40N-20-CU A29-601 pages 1-2
ADF Serials - Kittyhawk A29-601 incorrectly lists date of loss as 13/12/44 [sic 12/12/44] near Rau Siki [sic Ransiki]
World War II Nominal Roll - Kerry Gaven Byrnes
CWCG - Kerry Gaven Byrnes
Aviation Heritage - Kerry Gaven Byrnes
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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