|Pilot F/Lt Llewellyn Wettenhall, 400109 (MIA / KIA) South Yarra, VIC
Crashed December 31, 1943
Built by Supermarine. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number EE852. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Spitfire serial number A58-145. On April 17, 1943 assembled by 1 AD. Coded "UP-V" with Merlin engine number 93749.
Nicknamed "Nipponese" with the nose art of a girl and a white painted tail. Operated from Kiriwina Airfield.
On December 31, 1943 one of six Spitfires that took off from Kiriwina Airfield on "Mission 86". This aircraft's call sign was "Yellow One". After crossing the southern coast of New Britain Island, the formation entered thick clouds. Wingman "Yellow Two" could hear Wettenhall on the radio but apparently could not transmit over the radio. This Spitfire was never seen again and reported as Missing In Action (MIA) approximately thirteen miles from coast of New Britain. In fact, this Spitfire crashed near Kimbe. It is unknown if the pilot bailed out prior to the crash or died during the crash. Officially written off on January 13, 1944.
Wettenhall was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Bitapaka War Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial, panel 34.
During the 1990s, this aircraft was located by local people and reported. During March 1999, a RAAF Searcher Team visited the crash site. No trace of the pilot was found at the time. Little wreckage was located. During the visit, a landing gear strut and other wreckage were recovered by the RAAF and transported to Kimbe.
The recovered wreckage is stored and display at the Sam Remo Memorial.
NAA "AMSE Approval to Write off per File 9/16/1314"
ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-145
RAAFDB - Spitfire A58-145
this crash written by RAAF 30th Squadron Beaufighter pilot, George
Robertson from Rockhampton.
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February 4, 2018