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  PV-1 Ventura Serial Number NZ4522  
3 Squadron

Former Assignments
2 Squadron

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David Gillis 1969

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Ray Fairfield 1972

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M Claringbould 1977

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Alfred Kirkland, 1997

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Bill Lusty 2006
Pilot  Flight-Lieutenant Frederick N. R. Thomas, DFC (survived)
Co-Pilot  Flying Officer G. Shank (survived)
Crew  Warrant Officer G. Millar (survived)
Crew  Sergeant R. Budd (survived)
Force Landed  September 9, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed as model 237-27-01 in Burbank. Constructors Number 237-5535. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PV-1 Ventura bureau number 34645. Disassembled and shipped to Oahu and shipped to New Zealand as part of defense aid.

Wartime History
On August 10, 1943 assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Ventura NZ4522 and reassembled by Unit 12 at Ohakea Airfield. During September 1943, assigned to 2 Squadron at Ohakea Airfield. No known nickname or nose art. Next assigned to 3 Squadron based at Piva North Airfield on Bougainville.

Mission History
On September 9, 1944 took off from Piva North Airfield on Bougainville piloted by Flight-Lieutenant Frederick N.R. Thomas on a mission against Rabaul. Over the target, this Ventura was hit in the starboard engine by anti-aircraft fire. Thomas nursed the aircraft to Talasea Airfield on New Britain and made a hard landing, but the crew survived unhurt. Afterwards, stripped of usable parts. No repairs were attempted because the runway at Talasea Airfield was too short for it to take off.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the entire crew were flown back to Piva North Airfield and returned to duty. Thomas earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for this sucessful force landing.

This Ventura was abandoned at Talasea Airfield. During 1972-1973 parts were recovered from this aircraft and transported to by MOTAT. Later used in the restoration of RB-34 Ventura NZ4600.

Ann Riley (daughter of Thomas)
"He was decorated with an immediate award for this landing."

Navy Serial Number Search Results - PV-1 Ventura 34645
"34645 (MSN 237-5535) to New Zealand Aug 10, 1943 as NZ4522. Crash landed at Talasea, New Britain on 9 Sep 9, 1944 after being hit by enemy fire on a mission over Rabaul and written off. During 1972-1973 parts were salvaged from the wreck for use in the restoration of NZ4600 [41-38117] by MOTAT"
ADF Serials - Ventura NZ4522

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Last Updated
September 6, 2019


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