|Pilot Sgt Bruce Nicholson, 4210948 (MIA / KIA)
MIA February 5, 1944
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 28451. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-1-CU Warhawk serial number 42-104689. Disassembled and shipped overseas to New Zealand as part of defense aid.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Kittyhawk NZ3126. Reassembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot at Hobsonville Airfield and BOC on July 8, 1943. Assigned to 18 Squadron and coded "C".
On February 5, 1944 took off from Torokina Airfield on an escort mission for 48 SBDs and 18 TBFs attacking Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. After the bombing raid, the formation was intercepted by enemy fighters that followed them southwards. Also lost was P-40N NZ3120.
Two aircraft were observed crashing into the sea at Saint Georges Channel one in the channel and one near Cape Saint George, but it was not determined if these were P-40s. When this P-40 failed to return it was declared Missing In Action (MIA). This aircraft was officially written off on February 9, 1944.
Nicholson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at the Bourail War Cemetery on the Bourail Memorial on panel 8.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-1-CU Warhawk 42-104689
"104689 to New Zealand as NZ3126. Assembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot, Hobsonville and BoC at Hobsonville on 8 July 1943. Coded "C". To No.18 Squadron. Crashed into St. Georges Channel on 5 February 1944. The aircraft was shot down by an enemy fighter during an escort sortie."
ADF Serials NZ3126
CWGC - Bruce Nicholson
Air-To-Air page 290
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May 19, 2018