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  Vultee Vengeance Mark IIA Serial Number A27-275  
23 Squadron

Pilot  F/O Noel George Burnell, RAAF 409289 (MIA / KIA) Ivanhoe, VIC
Navigator  Captain William Phillip Watson, AIF NX112723 (MIA / KIA) Cremorne, NSW

Crashed  February 24, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Vultee in Los Angeles. This aircraft was built as a model 72, line number 96 under contract number AC24664. Constructor Number 4163. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-31-NO Vengeance serial number 41-????? (last five digits unknown). Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AF810. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia as part of defense aid.

Wartime History
On August 19, 1943 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Vengeance Mark II serial number A27-275. Assigned to 1 Air Depot (1AD) and reassembled. On November 26, 1943 assigned to 23 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 24, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by F/O Noel G. Burnell as one of twelve Vengence dive bombers on a mission to attack anti-aircraft positions around Hansa Bay. The bombers were escorted by twelve P-40N Kittyhawks.

Over the target, this aircraft was apparently hit by anti-aircraft fire and was seen in a vertical dive before crashing near the edge of the water approximately 300 yards from the shore. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost returning from the mission was Vengeagce A27-276 (MIA / POW).

Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at Lae War Cemetery on the Lae Memorial. Burnell on panel 6. Watson on panel 1.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-31-NO Vengeance
ADF Serials - Vengeance A27-275
CWGC - Noel George Burnell
CWGC - William Phillip Watson
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 23, 2019


Tech Information

2 Missing

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