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No. 76 Squadron
Ken Beohm c1942
AWM September 1942
5th AF Assoc c1990
Justin Taylan 2003
Daniel Leahy 2004
Leader Peter St George Bruce Turnbull, 481 C.O. No. 76 Squadron (KIA, BR) Glen Innes, NSW
Crashed August 27, 1942
Peter Turnbull was one of the leading fighter pilots in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He was the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of No. 76 Squadron. In total, he was credited with 12 victories in North Africa and New Guinea. He earned the DFC.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E-1-CU Warhawk serial number 41-25164, but this serial number was canceled on April 28, 1942 and instead allocated serial number 41-25166. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number ET490. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as P-40E Kittyhawk serial number A29-92. On May 18, 1942 assigned to No. 76 Squadron with code IW. No known nickname or nose art.
On May 26, 1942 while taxing at Weir Airfield near Townsville, damaged when the right wing collided with the wing of P-40E Kittyhawk A29-93. Afterwards, both aircraft were repaired. Next, flown to New Guinea based at No. 1 Strip (Fall River) near Milne Bay.
On August 27, 1942 took off from No. 1 Strip (Fall River) near Milne Bay piloted by S/L Peter Turnbull on a mission to search for and strafe Japanese positions near K. B. Mission. Soon after take off, this Kittyhawk crashed near Sanderson Bay. The cause of the crash was never established, but it was believed he was hit by small arms fire.
The wreckage of this Kittyhawk was first located on September 4, 1942. Afterwards, the crash site was visited by Australian forces stationed in the area.
After the crash, at least one .50 caliber machine gun was recovered by Australian Army 61 Battalion and taken back to Australia. Today, displayed at Australian War Memorial (AWM) in the Aircraft Hall.
A small piece of aluminum frame from the crash site was recovered by Australian Army Cpl R. J. H. Cardew, QX4469 who scratched "Souvenir 1942 from [illegible]" that was later donated to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) with accession number REL23740.
During the early 1970s a New Zealand aircraft collector was halted from exporting the wreck. He had transported portions of the wreckage to the dock at Milne Bay for export. The rest of the wreckage remains in situ to this day.
Recovery of Remains
On September 4, 1942 the crash site was located and Turnbull's remains were recovered by the Australian Army.
Turnbull was officially declared dead the day of the mission at age 25. After his remains were recovered on September 4, 1942, he was buried at Dowa Dowa at the base of a coconut palm tree in a grave marked by a wooden cross was decorated with a DFC medal and "Sqn. Leader P. Turnbull DFC 76 Sqn. RAAF Killed In Action 30.8.42 [sic 27.8.42]. Next, he was buried at Milne Bay War Cemetery with a white wooden cross that reads "481 Sqn. Ldr. P. B. Turnbull, D.F.C. R.A.A.F. 27.8.42". He is permanently buried at Bomana War Cemetery at A2. C. 27.
On September 14, 1942 his former airfield, No. 3 Strip was renamed "Turnbull Field" in his honor.
WW2 Nominal Roll - Peter St George Bruce Turnbull, 481
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40E-1 Warhawk 41-25166
"25166 (MSN 19185, ET490) was to have gone to Netherlands East Indies AF, but after arrival in Australia in Apr 1942 it was diverted to RAAF as A29-92 May 13, 1942. Lost to enemy action 9/1/1942."
ADF Serials - P-40 Kittyhawk A29-92
Milne Bay 1942 pages 31, 43, 45-47, 68, 80-81, 107, 117, 122, 161, 167-168, 169 (Turnbull photo), 249, 283-284, 288 (artwork), 355, 393, 434 (photos Turnbull Field plaque), 451-452 (Turnbull poems), 494 (index Turnbull)
Australian War Memorial (AWM) - Piece of aluminum aircraft framework REL23740
"Piece of aluminium aircraft framework, green anodised and painted primer green, apparently from a control surface. Souvenired by QX44696 Cpl R.J.H. Cardew from the crashed P-40E Kittyhawk of Sqdn Ldr Peter Turnbull DFC, CO of No.76 Squadron RAAF, in the Milne Bay area, New Guinea."
CWGC - Peter St George Bruce Turnbull
FindAGrave - Squadron Leader Peter St George Bruce Turnbull (photos, grave photo)
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August 27, 2021
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