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|Pilot F/L Charles Gordon Gladstone Prior, 39935 (MIA / KIA / BR)
Crew F/O Sydney Ernest Clayton, 426214 (MIA / KIA / BR) Taradale, Hawkes Bay
Crew W.O. Theo Raymond Scarlett, 411234 (MIA / KIA / BR) Stockton Mine, Nelson
Crashed June 5, 1944 at 10:45am
Built by Grumman as a model G-40. Constructors Number 5499. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBF-1C Avenger bureau number 47733. Disassembled and loaded as cargo aboard USS Schenectedy and shipped across the Pacific as part of lend-lease to New Zealand.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Avenger serial number NZ2518. On December 15, 1943 reassembled by No. 1 Aircraft Depot at Hobsonville Airfield with Unit 36. Assigned to 30 Squadron at Gisborne Airfield. Nicknamed "Plonky" with nose art of a flying beer keg. On January 24, 1944 departed Gisborne Airfield on ferry flight to Espiritu Santo. Next via Guadalcanal to operate from Piva North Airfield on Bougainville.
On June 5, 1944 took off from Piva North Airfield on Bougainville on a mission against Rabaul. Over Rapopo Airfield, this aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire causing the it to catch fire and dive into the ground. The entire crew was killed in the crash.
During 2001 US Army CILHI visited this crash site and incorrectly believed it was an American aircraft. A few body parts were found at the crash site and recovered for inspection and DNA testing, confirming they remains of this crew.
During 1992-1998, TBM Avenger 91110 was painted in the markings of this aircraft.
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