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Darwin Area

Article about: Good Day, What a pleasure it is to find this thread. I've made its existence known to the folks that run the 380th Bomb Group Association. Those are the folks that flew B-24's out of Fenton,

  1. #51
    aticus
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    Default Re: Darwin Area

    Hi:
    I visit Horn Island and enjoy visiting the RAAF sites and the memorial museum in the Gateway resort with Vanessa Seekee who write the book: Horn Island, In their steps 1939-45.

    If you dig a little over der, you can found a lot of broken bottles with the bottom engraved. If you are patient (and lucky), can collect the different WWII years.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture DSC00028.jpg   DSC00029.jpg  

    DSC00027.jpg   DSC00033.jpg  

    DSC00034.jpg   DSC00025.jpg  


  2. #52
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    Default Re: Darwin Area

    Nice pis, heading backup there next year will have to check it out

  3. #53
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    Default

    Cheers All,

    Just thought I'd share some Fenton related nose art with you from the 380th BG. This is a piece I purchased off ebay about 16-years ago based upon a narrative description. For obvious reasons, it remains a favored part of my modest collection. As you may be able to glean from the yard stick in the first picture, the piece is about 28 inches high and 26 inches wide. When purchased, I was told that it came out of a hanger that was being liquidated as part of an estate sale.

    Over the years I have actively worked with the folks in the 380th BG Chapter in an attempt to establish the provenance of the piece, but sadly no one can overtly state that they had seen the piece hanging somewhere. I even had it displayed at a group reunion in San Diego back in 2004. The paint and colors remain sharp. Originally the piece hung by a piece of parachute thread, but that wore out.

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    As you can see by the curvature of the aluminum panel and obvious airflow patterns on the back, this panel was part of flying aircraft.


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    The 380th flew B-24's but I have been all over B-24's and could not find a matching piece. Likewise, I took the panel to Planes of Fame in Chino, CA, and the folks at the Collings Foundation, all to no avail (did take a ride in their B-24 though!). Finally, the author of Aircraft Wrecks in California 1909-2002 informed me that the serial number displayed above is from a lower engine access panel on a P-51D. From that I can only surmise that the piece was painted sometime after Mustang "D" models started arriving, and crashing, in the Pacific Theater.

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    The 380th BG was made up of four squadrons: 528th, 529th, 530th and 531st. The painting on the back which begins with a "5" implies that the piece may have been associated with the 529th or 530th. In any case, it is a remarkable survivor and if anyone has any ideas or insights, your comments would be most welcome.

  4. #54

    Default

    The 3 digit prefix code on your part denotes the aircraft type. It doesn't look like a P51D part as the prefix would be 109. I am having trouble reading it.........it could be 106 or 108. 106 is a Douglas SBD, 108 is a B25J.

    Can you make out the prefix code?

  5. #55
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    Part number is I06-31598-7 ...a Douglas SBD. Now that makes more sense.

    Thank You!

  6. #56

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    No problem Glad to help

  7. #57
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    Default

    Thanks to the insight you provided concerning this piece coming from an SBD Dauntless, I did some research and learned that several of these aircraft were lost/scrapped at Darwin and Batchelor Air Fields in February of 1942. Extracting from the source site I learned that the USAAF 91st BS (Light) was in Northern Australia at that time.

    "After the success of the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka in Europe aroused USAAF interest in the dive bomber, the USAAF acquired its own dive bombers by obtaining 78 Douglas SBD-3As from the U.S. Navy production line between June and October 1941. These were named A-24 Banshee and allocated the serials 41-15746 to 41-15823. In reality, the USN substituted a number of SBD-2s for the SBD-3s, deficient in that they were without self-sealing tanks and armour plating...

    By the beginning of February 1942, the 91st was ready to go to Java. The lead squadron, the 91St BS left with 14 A-24s on February 6 1942 in company with the 3rd PS (Prov) P-40Es. This was going to be the last aerial reinforcement to Java before events overtook the allied effort. In any event, only 12 of these A24s ever reached Java. Another of the 14 A-24s was 41-15794 at Darwin with damage following a night landing accident. It was subsequently destroyed during the February 19 1942 Japanese air raid. This aircraft has been often misidentified as a Wirraway in a bombed out hanger photograph at Darwin. The crew of this aircraft was 2nd Lt Jacobs and. Sgt. C.C. Hutchins. Prior to this, engine and aircraft parts were flown up from Batchelor Airstrip from the damaged A24 (41-15806) of 2nd Lt Salvador, also of the 91st Bomb Squadron (Lt). The last missing 91st BS A24 (41-15803) had crash-landed at Maranboy in the Northern Territory."

    So, there were evidently several scrapped A-24's around Fenton area in 1942, and the 380th also flew numerous missions out of Darwin. Thus, I shall presume that someone hit the scrap heap and used this piece of an A-24 engine access panel as their "canvas" for the preceding 380th Nose Art emblem. Again, Thank You!

  8. #58

    Default

    What a hell of great page, its a nice change from the majority of Europe based guys. Are you still looking around at sites now that you're Melbourne based ??

  9. #59

    Default

    Very interesting Luft, and a lot more reasonable than the p51 theory!

  10. #60
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    Default

    Well, I searched every picture of an SBD I could find and nothing looked like my piece so I decided to write to the experts at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and see what they had to say. The answer came back today and there is absolutely no doubt that the piece came from a P-51D and is called a "doubler"; located under the nose, near the wing. So, I go searching the internet again for P-51 crashes in Australia and what do I come up with but a B-24/P-51 crash sight in Northern Australia, ON THIS FORUM at "http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/battlefield-archaeology/ww2-bomber-crash-australia-5178/". I sent an inquiry to the gentleman that posted the link back in 2009, but he his, unfortunately, now banned from the forum. Perhaps he'll write back, perhaps not, but I now at least have something that goes along way toward explaining how B-24 Nose Art could have gotten on a P-51 engine access panel. I love this forum!

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