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|Pilot Flying Officer Gordon Stanley Treweek (KIA, BR) Palmerston North, Wellington, NZ
Crashed February 13, 1944
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 29083. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-5-CU Warhawk serial number 42-105321. Disassembled and shipped overseas to New Zealand as part of defense aid.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Kittyhawk serial number NZ3165. Reassembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot (1 AD) at Hobsonville Airfield on August 9, 1943. Assigned to 14 Squadron. Tail number 60. No known nickname or nose art.
On February 13, 1944 at 9:15am took off from Torokina Airfield on Bougainville piloted by Flying Officer Gordon S. Treweek on an escort mission over Rabaul. The formation included twelve P-40s from RNZAF 18 Squadron plus twenty-four TBF Avengers and sixty SBDs on a strike against Vunakanau Airfield.
The formation flew up the Warongoi River inbound to the target area then turned to the right towards Vunakanau Airfield at 10:45am. The weather was reported as clear.
At 10:50am the formation was subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire. During a turn, this P-40 accidentally collided with the wing of his flight leader, F/Sgt N. E. Hanna whose aircraft was also damaged but was able to complete the mission. Other pilots in the formation believed they saw Treweek bail out at 11,000'. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially, this aircraft was written off March 9, 1944.
In fact, this P-40 crashed into a forested area near Vunadidir to the southwest of Vunakanau Airfield.
During 1955, the wreckage of this aircraft was discovered in a forested area near Vunadidir. Local people reported the pilot's body was found 30' from the wreckage.
Recovery of Remains
After discovery of aircraft, the remains of the pilot were recovered for permanent burial.
Treweek was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was buried at Bitapaka War Cemetery (Rabaul War Cemetery) at H. D. 9.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-5-CU Warhawk 42-105321
"105321 (MSN 29083) to New Zealand as NZ3165. Assembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot, Hobsonville and BoC at Hobsonville on 9 August 1943. Coded "60". To No.14 Squadron. Mid-air collision with another Warhawk during an escort duty on 13 February 1944. The aircraft crashed in heavy jungle near Vunakanau, the wreckage being discovered in 1955."
ADF Serials Kittyhawk NZ3165
CWGC - Gordon Stanley Treweek
Air To Air page 292, 407 (index Treweek)
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