|Pilot F/O Alexander Moore, 416523 (MIA / KIA) Otago, NZ
Gunner F/Sgt John Keith Munro, 417229 (MIA / KIA) Auckland, NZ
Crashed February 11, 1944
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 1858. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-4 Dauntless bureau number 06953.
Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Group 14 (MAG 14). Transfered to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). On December 26, 1943 assigned to 25 Squadron on Espiritu Santo.
On February 11, 1944 took off from Bomber 1 Airfield (Pallikulo Field) on Espiritu Santo for a radio familiarization flight. The aircraft went missing in the cloud covered hills around the area and despite extensive searches the wreckage was not found.
Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at the Bourail Memorial in Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery (Bourail War Cemetery). Moore on panel 4. Munro on panel 6.
During 1987, the crash site of this aircraft was located roughly 50km from Pallikulo. No trace of the crew was found in the wreckage.
During 1998, this aircraft was recovered by RNZAF 3 Squadron and transported to New Zealand.
Displayed at the RNZAF Museum as it crashed.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-4 Dauntless 06953
"06953 (MSN 1858) loaned to RNZAF from Marine Air Group 14. Brought on charge as NZ5037 by 25 Squadron at Espiritu Santo Dec 26, 1943. (25 Sqdn) went missing on a radio range familiarization flight near Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Feb 11, 1944. Both crew killed. Wreckage discovered in 1987. Wreckage now on display at RNZAF Museum, Wigram in "as found" condition."
ADF Serials / NZ Serials - Douglas Dauntless NZ5037
Kiwi Aircraft Images - Douglas SBD Dauntless NZ5037
CWGC - Alexander Moore
John Keith Munro
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September 2, 2020