|Pilot Flight Lieutenant J. O. McFarlane, 402881 (MIA / KIA) Auckland, NZ
MIA December 17, 1943
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructor Number 28779. U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40N-5-CU Warhawk serial number 42-105017. Disassembled and shipped overseas to New Zealand as part of defense aid.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Kittyhawk NZ3175. On August 16, 1943 reassembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot and BOC at Hobsonville Airfield. Assigned to 16 Squadron. Tail Code 65. Written off books on January 31, 1944.
On December 17, 1943 took off from Ondonga Airfield on New Georgia at
5:30am piloted by Flight Lieutenant J. O. McFarlane on a fighter sweep over Rabaul. This P-40 was one of twenty-four P-40s from RNZAF 16 Squadron and 14 Squadron. They were joined by twenty-two U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats and thirty-one U. S. Marine Corps F4U Corsairs, totaling seventy-seven fighters. This mission was the RNZAF's first major air operation.
The formation first staged to Torokina Airfield to refuel, then took off again and split up into two groups. The New Zealand pilots were
led by Freeman and Arkwright en route to Rabaul. Inbound to the target, two P-40s aborted the mission due to to mechanical problems, leaving seventy-five fighters that reached the target.
Over the target, McFarlane's leader Vanderpump dove
onto eight Zekes above shipping in the harbor. Vanderpump shot down a
Zeke, then chases a Zeke attacking McFarlane, both escaping by diving
through intense anti-aircraft over Rabaul, McFarlane was hit and
crashed near Praed Point.
This mission a total of three P-40s and two pilots were lost:
this aircraft plus P-40
NZ3153 over southern New Ireland. Nine aircraft
were claimed, 5 by RNZAF, 4 by USN.
McFarlane was officially declared dead on December 17, 1943. He is memorialized at Bourail Memorial at the Bourail War Cemetery on panel 3.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40N-5-CU Warhawk 42-105017
"105017 (MSN 28779) to New Zealand as NZ3175. Assembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot, Hobsonville and BoC at Hobsonville on 16 August 1943. Coded "65". To No.16 Squadron. Crashed near Praed Point on 17 December 1943. The aircraft was shot down by enemy fighters during a fighter sweep to Rabaul."
Air To Air The Story Behind the air-to-air combat claims of the RNZAF pages 275-277 does not mention the loss of Grubb
ADF Serials Kittyhawk NZ3175
CWGC - John Osborne McFarlane
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January 12, 2019