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  P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-7 Code A
RAAF
No. 75 Squadron

Click For Enlargement
RAAF 1941

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David Pennefather 1990
Pilot  Squadron Leader Bernard "Barney" B. Cresswell, 82 No. 76 Squadron (KIA, BR) Exeter, NSW
Crashed  April 17, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number 41-5363. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
During March 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as P-40E Kittyhawk A29-7 and reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On March 8, 1942 assigned to No. 75 Squadron and coded A. In late March 1942 flown by S/L John F. Jackson from Garbutt Field at Townsville northward to 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

This Kittyhawk was often flown by S/L John F. Jackson or his brother F/L Leslie "Les" D. Jackson. On March 23, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome piloted by S/L John F. Jackson on a strafing mission against Lae. On March 24, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome piloted by F/L Leslie "Les" D. Jackson when he claimed his first aerial victory (in fact, no Japanese aircraft was lost that day) over Port Moresby.

Mission History
On April 17, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Squadron Leader Bernard "Barney" B. Cresswell with P-40 piloted by Woods on a reconnaissance mission over Lae. This mission was so Cresswell could gain experience. At 8:00am over the north coast of New Guinea, the pair turned south to fly over the Wau-Bulolo-Lake State area.

Suddenly, Woods was fired on by a A6M2 Zero from Tainan Kokutai (Tainan Air Group) and waggled his wings to warn Cresswell, 150 yards astern before diving into cloud. Probably, Cresswell was watching the terrain and did not realize he was under attack until it was too late. Woods lost contact with Cresswell and was chased by Zeros for the next fifteen minutes, but managed to escape by flying southward to Kerema, then eastward back to 7-Mile Drome flying at 500' altitude. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, his body was recovered and buried at Bulwa Cemetery with military honors.

Memorials
Cresswell was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Lae War Cemetery at G. A. 3.

Wreckage
This P-40 crashed near the confluence of the Watut River and Bululo River near Bulolo. Afterwards, his remains were recovered. Until at least 1990, the engine, propeller and other smaller pieces of wreckage, including the flattened centerline drop tank.

Charles Darby adds:
"I did not salvage anything from this aircraft. I understand a few parts have gone to Australia, but by far the greatest bulk of the remains was sold for 'peanuts' as scrap."

During the early 1990's piece of this aircraft were salvaged by Ian Whitney. The the rest was reportedly scrapped by locals.

References
World War 2 Nominal Roll - Bernard Barton Cresswell
ADF Serials Kittyhawk A29-7
Kodochosho Tainan Kokutai April 17, 1942
RAAF Service Record (NAA: A9300, CRESSWELL B B)
RAAF Casualty File - Bernard B. Cresswell (NAA: A705, 163/26/201)
Seek and Strike mentions this loss.
"On this day [17 April] two Kittyhawks, flown by Woods and Squadron Leader B B Cresswell, the commanding officer of 76 Squadron, who was attached to gain combat experience, took off early in the morning to undertake a reconnaissance of Lae. After flying over La Suiga Island, the pair turned to Lae, from where they flew some thirty miles west."
Wings Over New Zealand Show Aviation Podcast - Episode 98 – WOA – Ian Whitney recorded November 14, 2015 includes reference to P-40E Kittyhawk A29-7 (39:28 - 40:43)
Warbird Aviation Services - Projects - P-40E 41-5363 A29-7
Warbird Aviation Services - Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk 41-5363 aka A29-7
"Restoration to airworthy commenced in Feb 2016 by Warbird Aviation Services Pty Ltd"
Facebook "HistoricAviation Aircraft" October 11, 2016
"Some exciting news coming out of Victoria tonight. We at HAA have had to sit on this until the respective owners were ready to go public with the launch of their new website to announce their new venture. Warbird Aviation Services in Melbourne, Have released the information on their four aircraft projects including excitingly the restoration of not one but three P-40 Kittyhawks. One in particular of mention is the rebuild of P-40E A29-7 which was one of the first 25 Kittyhawks delivered. The company will also be producing components for other projects as well. An example of this is the P-40 Artificial Horizon mount as seen on the attached photo of a P-40E instrument panel. Some exciting news for P-40 fans thats for sure. Incidentally the owners are looking for in service shots of A29-7 so come on HAA readers what have you? Of course we will bring you photos of the restorations as the owners allow."
Warbird Aviation Services in Melbourne - Projects - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-7 updated October 1, 2016
"Restoration to airworthy commenced in Feb 2016 by Warbird Aviation Services Pty Ltd"
Thanks to David Pennefather, Charles Darby and Ian Whitney for additional information

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Last Updated
April 16, 2021

Tech Info
P-40
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