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  CA-5 Wirraway Serial Number A20-103  
4 Squadron

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Click For Enlargement
Daniel Leahy 2005

Aircraft History
Built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Constructor Number 103.

Wartime History
During September 1940, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as CA-5 Wirraway serial number A20-103. Assigned to 4 Squadron with squadron code "D".

During early 1942, operated from Fairburn Airfield. Next, flown to 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby. On the left side of the nose was painted "Ugh!" with a character wearing a derby hat with "A. R. P." and a fork. Painted with three bomb markings indicating missions flown and a Japanese rising sun flag indicating a single enemy fighter shot down.

On December 26, 1942 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port Moresby piloted by P/O John S. Archer and crew SGT J. L. Convulsion on a tactical reconnaissance mission over a Japanese ship wrecked off Gona [Ayutosen Maru]. Over the target, this Wirraway spotted a Japanese fighter 1,000' below, incorrectly identified by them as a "Zero". In fact, this was Ki-43-I Oscar piloted by W/O Tadashi Yoshitake. Taking advantage of their higher altitude, Archer dived down onto fighter firing a long burst with his two Browning .303 inch guns and as he pulled away the enemy aircraft was seen to crash into the sea. This was the only time a Wirraway made a confirmed kill against an enemy fighter.

Afterwards, Archer earned the U. S. Army silver star from General Whitehead, commanding general of Allied Air Forces in New Guinea. Later, Archer stated that he had acted on impulse and was lucky to get in an effective first burst.

On October 16, 1944 at 1:00pm while Wirraway A20-80 was taxing, it collided with stationary Wirraway A20-103 damaging it. Afterwards, this Wirraway was withdrawn from service.

Restored and displayed as a cutaway aircraft, allowing viewers to see inside the fuselage and with the left wing removed at the Bradbury Aircraft Hall at Australian War Memorial (AWM).

NAA RAAF No. 4 Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB) - January 20, 1943
"20/1/43 –  P/O J. S. Archer awarded the Silver Star (U.S.A.) for 'doing the impossible - shooting down a Zero [sic Ki-43] and brining hom his observer and aircraft to tell the tale.' "
AWM Archer, J S (Flying Officer, RAAF) EXDOC139
Army Signal message: "1145hrs RUSSEL and CARO observed Wirraway shoot down Zero. Zero fell in flames 600 yards east of CARO and 100 yards out from shore."
AWM "Extraordinary incident" by Roy Hodgkinson ART22743
Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 85 Ki-43 'Oscar' Aces of World War 2 page 73
ADF Serials - Wirraway A20-103 incorrectly states "shot down a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero at Rabaul"

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Last Updated
November 14, 2019


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