Ronald C. Warren
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) No. 20 Squadron
F4U Corsair Pilot and Prisoner Of War (POW)
Ronald Charles Warren was born in New Zealand. He enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) with service number 425959.
During 1945, Warren was a member of No.
20 Squadron flying the F4U Corsair in the South Pacific (SOPAC).
On June 21, 1945 at 7:45am took off from Jacquinot Bay Airfield piloting F4U-1D Corsair NZ5402 on a patrol mission over Rabaul and the Gazelle Peninsula with wingman F4U Corsair piloted by F/Sgt Turner. After searching the Rabaul area for targets unsuccessfully, the pair flew eastward to the Duke of York Islands at low level.
While flying on the northwest side of Ulu Island, Turner spotted an empty canoe on the beach. The pair climbed to 1,200' to initiate a strafing run. Afterwards, this Corsair hit a palm tree and crashed into the jungle roughly 150' to 200' from the shore of Ulu Island. When this Corsair failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). This aircraft was officially written off the books at Jacquinot Bay Airfield.
Prisoner Of War (POW)
In fact, while diving at an altitude of roughly 400', Warren lost consciousness and blacked out. When he awoke, he was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). Afterwards, Warren was detained with other Allied prisoners until the end of the Pacific War. He was the only New Zealand POW to survive captivity to be liberated.
On September 7, 1945 Warren was among a group of 28 Allied prisoner that survived the war were embarked aboard HMAS Vendetta (D69) at Rabaul then transported to Jacquinot Bay and admitted to the hospital. On September 8, 1945 he was interrogated about his experiences as a prisoner and photographed in hospital with a bandaged foot, magazine and aid pacakge.
Photos by RNZAF, September 8, 1945
Pacific Wrecks - F4U-1D Corsair
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1D Corsair 50568
"50568 (MSN 5815) to New Zealand as NZ5402"
ADF Serials - NZ Serials Corsair NZ5402
New Zealand Fighter Pilot Association Journal, Nov, Volume 29, p.20-22, (2000)
RNZAF - Interrogation Report - NZ425959 Warren, Ronald Charles
"W/O Ron Warren, a member of No 20 Squadron, was posted missing believed killed on 21st June 1945. With his No 2 F/Sgt C. H. Turner, he was on a routine Gazelle Peninsula patrol taking off from Jacquinot Bay at 0745 hours. He was last seen by F/Sgt Turner strafing a canoe on the NW coast of Ulu Island, in the Duke of York group. A subsequent search revealed an F4U on the NW side of Ulu Island, 150 to 200 feet from the shore. The aircraft appeared to have been completely wrecked. There was no sign of the Pilot. W/O Warren was a member of a party of 28 European Service personnel taken aboard H.M.A.S. VENDETTA at Rabaul on the morning of 7th September 1945. His interrogation is as follows:"
Missing Aircrew Investigation Unit "Interrogation:
NZ425959 Warren, Ronald Charles W/O Missing Believed Killed" September 8, 1945
RNZAF MPIU Photograph 7685 "Jacquinot Bay 8th Sept. 1945 NZ P.O.W W/O Warren at Jacquinot Bay (the only NZ P.O.W. found alive at Rabaul)."
Prisoner of War: Rabaul, New Britain by Jose Holguin:
"In early May , three new Marine airmen joined us. They were to be the last except for a New Zealand pilot by the name of Ronnie Warran [sic, Warren] who in late July, 1945 [sic June 21, 1945], flew too low wile strafing a truck and hit the palm trees... During that time he brought us up to date on how the war had progressed up until he had gone down and also told us about an American prisoner by the name of Sanger [sic Zanger pilot of FG-1 Corsair 14417] who had been held at the same place with him, but who had been killed trying to escape."
Auckland Museum - Online Cenotaph - Ronald Charles Warren
Thanks to Henry Sakaida and Edward Rogers for additional information
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