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RAAF 24 Squadron
February 27 1944
|Pilot F/O Kenneth Hillman Pike, 417113 (survived) Adelaide, SA
Gunner Sgt Keith Beatty Morgan, 412019 (survived) Batemans Bay, NSW
Force Landed February 27, 1944 at 9:45am
Built by Vultee in Los Angeles. This aircraft was built as a model 72, line number 284 under contract number RFDA-2648. Constructor Number 684. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-31-NO Vengeance serial number 41-31014 Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number EZ963. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia as part of defense aid.
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Vengeance Mark IA serial number A27-83. On May 20, 1943 received by the 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On August 30, 1943 transfered to 2 Air Depot (2 AD). On September 21, 1943 assigned to 21 Squadron then back to 3 AD on December 9, 1943. On October 10, 1944 assigned to 24 Squadron as a replacement for Vengeance A27-290.
On February 27, 1944 took off at 9:00am from Nadzab Airfield piloted by F/O Kenneth Hillman Pike armed with two 500 pound bombs on "Mission #46" as one of eleven Vengeances from 23 Squadron and 24 Squadron on a bombing mission against Alexishafen Airfield. The bombers were escorted by twelve P-40N Kittyhawks from 78 Squadron.
The formation, call sign "canvas" rendezvoused over the Markham River and Ramu River at 2,000'. Returning from the mission, this aircraft's engine overheated. At 9:45am, pilot Pike force landed in a kunai grass field near the Leron River near Kiapit.
Until the early 1960s, wreckage of this aircraft remained in situ. During 1962, Charles Darby photographed the wreckage of this aircraft burnt by grass fires which ignited center fuel tanks,
leaving only the wings, tail and cowl. Reportedly, the remainder of the aircraft was broken up for
scrap metal sometime afterwards.
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