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  Vultee Vengeance Mark IA Serial Number A27-83  
24 Squadron

Former assignments
1 AD
2 AD
21 Squadron
3 AD

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RAAF 24 Squadron
February 27 1944
Pilot  F/O Kenneth Hillman Pike, 417113 (survived) Adelaide, SA
 Sgt Keith Beatty Morgan, 412019 (survived) Batemans Bay, NSW
Force Landed  February 27, 1944 at 9:45am

Aircraft History
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.

Wartime History
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.

Mission History
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.

Both crew survived the landing unhurt. After the crash landing, another vengeance from 24 Squadron photographed the aircraft in the grass with both crew members standing on the wing. Later, the crew were rescued by a light aircraft and flown back to Nadzab Airfield and returned to duty.

After the force landing, this aircraft was officially written off at Nadzab Airfield. Issued to 11 RSU, it is unclear if this aircraft was ever salvaged for spare parts and usable equipment or simply abandoned.

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.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-31-NO Vengeance 41-31015
ADF Serials - Vengeance A27-83
24 Squadron Diary - February 27, 1944
WW2 Nominal Roll - Kenneth Hillman Pike
WW2 Nominal Roll - Keith Beatty Morgan
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 26
Thanks to Charles Darby and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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