Air-to-Air Photographs

The following 62 photos are a selection of the 242 images in the book.  The images here are low resolution and a false colour.  The images in the book are high resolution quality black and white photographs that are mostly 6 x 4 inch (15 cm x 10 cm) in size.  A comparison of image quality is shown in the two photographs of F/O Geoff Fisken below.

  This photograph of F/O G. B. Fisken was taken after 4 July 1943.  The eleven flags painted on the nose of NZ3072/19 represent the six Japanese aircraft he claimed in Malaya, the two A6M ‘Zekes’ shot down on 12 June 1943, and the three aircraft he claimed on 4 July, when he was flying another P-40 (NZ3060/9).   Because of its nose art, and the aircraft’s association with Fisken, NZ3072 was arguably the most well known P-40 flown by the RNZAF.  RNZAF Official

  The Kyusyu Maru was one of three Japanese transports lost on the coast north-west of Henderson Field after an Allied air attack on 15 October 1942.  This photograph was taken on 3 March 1944.  RNZAF Official

  The power of the Japanese Imperial Navy is well illustrated in this photograph of the battleship Yamato being fitted out in September 1941.  The Yamoto and her sistership (Musashi) were the largest battleships ever built.  The Yamoto carried a crew of 2750, was 840 feet (256m) long at the water line, and its main armament (nine guns in three turrets) had an 18.1 inch (460mm) bore.  Each barrel was over 69 feet (21 metres) long and fired a projectile 6.4 feet (1.95 m) in length that weighed around 3000 lb (1360kg).

  F/Lt J. N. Mackenzie, commanding ‘A’ Flight, warms up the engine of a Buffalo at Kallang.  Prior to joining 488 Squadron, Mackenzie had flown in 41 Squadron (RAF) during the Battle of Britain.  RNZAF Museum

  F/Lt J. R. Hutcheson was leader of ‘B’ Flight.  Like F/Lt Mackenzie, he had also come from the RAF and described the Buffalo as a ‘nice old gentleman’s aeroplane.’  Ministry of Information, Singapore

  With the help of local labour, P/O L. R. Farr supervises the ground handling of a Brewster Buffalo. Due to insufficient warning of approaching raids, the Buffalos defending Singapore rarely got above attacking Japanese aircraft.  As a result, units operating the type suffered heavy losses in combat.  Other aircraft were lost through accidents or engine failure during sustained climbs.  RNZAF Museum

  488 pilots shelter from the rain under the wing of a Buffalo at Kallang.  From left to right:  P/O G. P. White, P/O J. C. Godsiff, P/O H. S. Pettit, Sgt J. F. Burton, Sgt P. E. E. Killick, Sgt E. E. G. Kuhn, P/O W. J. Greenhalgh, P/O E. W. Cox, P/O F. S. Johnstone, LAC B. R. Herbert (ground staff), P/O L. R. Farr, and Sgt W. J. N. MacIntosh.  via Wally Greenhalgh

  A Yokosuka E14Y1 ‘Glen’ reconnaissance floatplane is shown here at the point it has left the submarine’s catapult.  E14Ys from two Japanese submarines were flown over Wellington and Auckland during March and May 1942 but, unlike Sydney, the New Zealand ports were not attacked afterward.  When not in use, the aircraft was dismantled and stored inside the watertight hangar shown in the right foreground.

  On 4 June 1942, Japanese aircraft hit the USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway.  In the initial attack, three bombs hit the carrier – one of them going straight down the smokestack into the engine room, where it knocked out five of the Yorktown’s six boilers.

  On 31 March 1943, an Aichi E13A ‘Jake’ reconnaissance floatplane was claimed to have been damaged by the crew of Hudson NZ2085.  The Hudson’s captain (F/Sgt I. L. Bary) and one of NZ2085’s gunner’s claimed hits on the Jake before it escaped into cloud.

  F1M2 ‘Petes’ were normally used for observation and anti-submarine duties but were occasionally used as interceptors.  This badly damaged Pete was photographed at Rekata Bay on the island of Santa Isabel.  RNZAF Official

  An instrument panel of a P-40E, the model which 15 Squadron flew in Tonga and Espiritu Santo.  Early P-40Ns lacked the direction indicator and artificial horizon seen at the top of the panel.  RNZAF Official

  RNZAF P-40s taxi out for take-off at Espiritu Santo.  Although Japanese aircraft flew over the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), they were not engaged by New Zealand pilots.  RNZAF Official via NZ Wings

  Vertical photograph of Kukum Field (Fighter II), home to New Zealand fighter squadrons based on Guadalcanal.  The runway on the north side (closest to the sea) was constructed of coral and the inland strip had a steel Marston matting surface, hence the darker colour.  The main servicing and living areas were on the south side of the field (at bottom of picture).  RNZAF Official

  S/L M. J. Herrick sitting in his P-40 sometime after the combat on 6 May 1943.  Prior to flying in the Pacific, Herrick had flown in the Battle of Britain and had claimed five German aircraft destroyed while flying Blenheims and Beaufighters with No. 25 Squadron, RAF – hence the ‘kill’ markings on the side of his aircraft.  RNZAF Official

  The first islands to be taken by the Allies after Guadalcanal had been captured were the Russell Islands.  On 21 February, American troops occupied Banika and Pavuvu islands, and two airfields were constructed on Banika Island – North Field (at right) and South Field (left foreground).  On Monday 7 June 1943, 15 Squadron claimed to have shot down three Zekes and a Hamp near the Russell Islands after being scrambled from Kukum to intercept a large raid.  RNZAF Official via NZ Wings

  Throughout the Solomons campaign, RNZAF aircrew encountered various models of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.  Pictured here is an A6M2 Model 21 at Lakunai, Rabaul, which has been partly covered in coconut fronds for camouflage.  Behind the aircraft are the waters of Matupi Harbour and the active volcanic crater of Mt Tavurvur.

  Two of 14 Squadron’s pilots, Sgts F. E. Ferrier and D. W. Robertson, light up cigarettes after a patrol.  Many of 14 Squadron’s pilots completed four-hour morning patrols after a meagre breakfast of tea and toast.  With pilots forced to sit on hard dinghy packs, and no food or drink provided while in the air, morale suffered.  A number of recommendations made by S/L H. R. Wigley resulted in improved conditions from August 1943 onwards.  RNZAF Official
  These A6M3 Model 22s of the 251st Kokutai were photographed out of Rabaul sometime after May 1943.  The patterned effect on the fuselage is the result of green paint having been hastily applied over the original light scheme.  This aircraft, which originally had the tail code UI-105, was one of many to have been flown by the Japanese ace LTJG Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, who is reputed to have shot down 86 enemy aircraft.

  Three of 14 Squadron’s pilots to claim enemy aircraft on 1 July 1943 are included in this photograph (taken on a later tour).  From left to right:  S/L S. G. Quill, F/Lt L. R. Renolds (one Hamp), F/Lt E. H. Brown (one Zeke), F/O W. M. Bullen, and F/O R. A. Weber (two Zekes).  RNZAF Official

  14 Squadron pilots discuss tactics after a patrol.  From left to right:  F/Lt H. A. Eaton, F/O H. J. Meharry, F/O D. L. Clow, F/Lt H. R. Wigley.  Both Meharry and Clow flew Buffalos with 488 Squadron.  Flight equipment includes US Navy summer flight overalls, RAF Mae Wests, American goggles, radio headsets, jungle knives, water bottles, and revolvers.  Aircraft identification posters line the wall.  RNZAF Official

  On 4 July 1943, Sgt R. C. C. Nairn claimed one A6M ‘Zeke’ destroyed, his third Pacific claim.  Three days earlier, he was credited with the destruction of an A6M ‘Hamp’ and the probable destruction of another.  In this photograph, a member of Nairn’s groundcrew helps him strap into his P-40.  Note the external rear-vision mirror fitted to early model P-40s.  RNZAF Official

  The Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ saw action throughout WWII and was produced in larger numbers than any other Japanese bomber.  Of lightweight construction, it had a phenomenal range for the period but its lack of armour and unprotected fuel tanks earned it the Japanese nickname of ‘Type 1 Lighter’ on account of the aircraft catching fire or exploding when hit.  Due to its shape (and its ability to burn), it was also called the ‘Flying Cigar’ by Americans.
  F/O W. J. Polson, shown here about to board NZ3072, was the first to be hit during the 4 July combat.  Two cannon shells hit the starboard wing of his aircraft (NZ3079/31) and a 7.7-mm bullet smashed into the circuit breaker box.  With his guns and radio unserviceable, he was forced to return to base.  RNZAF Official

  HMNZS Leander in the Hauraki Gulf during 1943, following repairs in Auckland.  The aircraft flying past the ship is a North American Harvard and the vessel at right is a Fairmile Type B ML used for anti-submarine patrols.  Royal New Zealand Navy Museum

  Most patrols carried out by 3 Squadron Hudsons flying from Henderson Field were uneventful.  On 24 July 1943 however, eight A6Ms made repeated attacks on Hudson NZ2021 over a distance of 40 miles, during which time the air gunner, Sgt T. E. Ganley, claimed to have shot down one of the enemy aircraft. After the pilot (F/Lt W. G. C. Allison) was forced to ditch the damaged aircraft, the A6Ms strafed the survivors, killing all but Ganley.  RNZAF Official

  On 31 July 1943, A6Ms shot down two of 16 Squadron’s pilots.  It is believed that F/Sgt L. W. Williams (pictured), who was flying P-40M NZ3076/30, managed to bail out of his stricken aircraft and land in the jungle five miles north-east of Munda, but he was never heard from again.  Sgt S. G. Sharp also bailed out after his engine was hit by cannon shells, but was picked up by an American PT boat after landing in the sea near Rendova.  RNZAF via NZ Wings

  In Sgt N. A. Pirie’s pilot’s report for the 13 August 1943, he claimed to have hit an A6M ‘Zeke’ and saw tracer going into ‘the nose and fuselage as far as the cockpit’, following which he observed thick smoke coming from the aircraft.  Despite this claim, Pirie was not credited with the destruction or probable destruction of this A6M in the summary written on the front page of the combat report.  Ironically, the confirmation by witnesses for the destruction of this A6M is probably greater than any other claim made by a pilot flying for an RNZAF squadron.  RNZAF via NZ Wings
  Due to his previous operational experience in the RAF, F/Lt R. L. Spurdle was one of the most experienced pilots flying P-40s for the RNZAF.  He was credited with eight German aircraft destroyed while flying Spitfires over England and two Japanese aircraft destroyed while flying P-40s in the Pacific.  RNZAF Official

  This American P-40F, “Destitute Prostitute III”, was one of the first aircraft to land on Munda airfield after it was captured from the Japanese on 5 August 1943.  On 30 August, eight American P-40s and four P-40s from 16 Squadron were escorting 27 B-24 Liberators raiding Kahili airfield when a bomb struck the spinner of NZ3084 flown by F/O S. L. Duncan.  No parachute was seen as the fighter spiralled down toward the jungle north-west of Kahili airfield and Duncan was posted as missing on operations.  US Navy Official via RNZAF Museum

  Soldiers from 14 NZ Infantry Brigade, 3rd NZ Division, inspect a captured Japanese machine-gun on Vella Lavella.  Casualties for 14 Brigade during the Vella Lavella operation were 31 killed (plus one officer dying from wounds) and 32 wounded.  War History Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

  After bailing out of his crippled P-40M (NZ3086) on 23 September 1943 and swimming to Mono Island, F/Sgt G. I. Luoni managed to live off the land for 32 days before contacting Solomon Islanders for assistance.  RNZAF Official

  On 11 October 1943, 17 Squadron claimed two Zekes destroyed and a third damaged when escorting 15 SBD Dauntlesses striking anti-aircraft positions at Kangu, south Bougainville.  This SBD was photographed over Bougainville and clearly shows the thickness of the island’s jungle.  RNZAF via NZ Wings
  S/L P. G. H. Newton (centre) and F/Lt A. W. Buchanan (right) each claimed an A6M ‘Zeke’ destroyed on 11th October.  They are standing in front of NZ3071/18, the aircraft in which Buchanan was flying at the time he made his claim.  The pilot at left is F/Lt B. H. Thomson, who was also on the operation.  RNZAF Official

  Other pilots flying on 11th October  (photographed here at Kukum) included, from left to right: P/O H. N. Longley, F/O J. H. Mills, and F/Sgt I. P. Speedy.  The pilot at right is F/Lt R. A. Armstrong, another 17 Squadron pilot.  The P-40 behind the pilots is NZ3112/34, which was flown by F/O H. K. Anderson during the 11 October operation.  Geoff Highet

  In this photograph of Ondonga airfield, taken on 19 November 1943, the second runway is still under construction.  The aircraft at left is an RNZAF Hudson and two PBY ‘Dumbo’ Catalinas can be seen moored in the channel below.  In the background at right is Rendova Island and Munda airfield lies five miles away beyond the body of water in the middle-distance. RNZAF Official

  18 Squadron pilots.  Standing, left to right: F/O C. D. A.  Highet, F/Lt R. H. Balfour, S/L J. A. Oldfield, and F/O L. A. Rayner.  Crouching, left to right:  P/O B. W. Williams, Sgt M. A. Nagel, and P/O R. W. Bremner.  Highet, Balfour, Rayner, Nagel and Bremner all took part in the patrol over Empress Augusta Bay on 1 November 1943 and claimed six Zekes destroyed between them.  Clive Highet

  When the engine of a fighter was ‘out of hours’ (or damaged), it was promptly replaced by a ‘fresh’ engine.  In this photograph, a new engine is being fitted at Ondonga.  The cylindrical objects below the engine support frame are radiators, the top two being for glycol and the lower one for oil.  RNZAF via NZ Wings

  During the operation on 22 November 1943, F/O C. D. A. Highet claimed one and a half A6M ‘Zekes’ destroyed.  He is shown here with American AN-6530 pattern flying goggles, an American A-10 oxygen mask and an RNZAF 1943 Tropical pattern flying helmet.  RNZAF Official

  Rabaul, New Britain.  This high-altitude photograph is looking west across Simpson Harbour to Talili Bay and Watom Island in the background.  Rabaul township is on the right-hand side of the harbour with Mt Tovanumbatir to the extreme right.  Matupi Island (left front) can be seen connected to the main island of New Britain by a causeway and Lakunai airfield (not obvious) runs away from the camera position in the centre foreground.  At front right is the vent of Mt Tavurvur.  The two prominent rocks (remnants of a volcanic plug) in the middle of Simpson Harbour are known as the Beehives.  RNZAF Official

  This gun camera photograph is reputed to be from a 14 Squadron aircraft flying from Ondonga but this is unlikely as RNZAF P-40s rarely used gun cameras.  The A6M depicted (tail code 53-112) is from 253 Air Group and shows what appears to be flame erupting from the rear of the starboard engine cowling.  The only claim for a Zeke destroyed by 14 Squadron while it was operating out of Ondonga was made by F/O H. J. Meharry on 17 December 1943.  In this stern attack, Meharry observed smoke issue from the port wing root before the aircraft burst into flames, rolled to port and dived into the sea.  These details do not match this image, which clearly shows an attack from the starboard side. via RNZAF Museum

  The second 16 Squadron pilot to lose his life on 19 December 1943 was F/Sgt C. A. McDonald, who was killed on take-off from Torokina when his engine failed.  Although he managed to ditch the aircraft (NZ3155/50) off the end of the strip and was thrown clear, only his parachute was recovered.  RNZAF Official via NZ Wings

  P-40N NZ3138/F was the reserve aircraft flown up to Torokina from Ondonga by 17 Squadron pilot F/O T. A. Burt for the Christmas Eve operation.  Geoff Highet

  NZ3140/P at Torokina.  This aircraft had taken part in the strike on Rabaul on 19 December (flown by F/Lt B. H. Thomson) but was lost with its pilot, F/Lt P. S. Worsp, on 24 December 1943.  F/O A. G. S. George last saw Worsp’s aircraft over Crater Peninsula.  When Worsp failed to return to base, it was assumed that he had been shot down.  US Navy Official via NZ Wings

  This photograph of P/O D. F. Ayson sitting in the cockpit of NZ4509 shows an unknown American serviceman pointing to three Japanese ‘kill’ markings on the side of the fuselage.  The third claim for destroyed is at odds with the combat report and citations for the awards given to the aircrew, which only recorded two claims for destroyed.  RNZAF Official

  Following the action on 24 December 1943, three of the crew from NZ4509 were awarded medals.  From left to right:  F/O D. F. Ayson received the DFC, F/Sgt G. E. Hannah the DFM and W/O W. N. Williams the DFC.  Williams had previously been awarded the DFM during operations in Europe. RNZAF Official

  During January and February 1944, pilots flying RNZAF P-40s often escorted American SBD (Douglas Dauntless) and TBF (Grumman Avenger) aircraft on strikes to airfields around Rabaul, New Britain. With bomb racks empty, this SBD was photographed over Torokina, Bougainville. RNZAF Official

  On 9 January 1944, F/O A. B. Sladen lost his life in P-40 NZ3121/K, shown here undergoing maintenance at Ondonga, New Georgia.  Also killed on this day was F/O D. L. Jones in NZ3123/H.  It was thought that a parachute seen descending into the water near Kabanga Bay, New Britain, belonged to one of the missing pilots.  Jones had been credited with the destruction of two A6Ms over Rabaul 16 days earlier.  RNZAF Official

  This photograph of Torokina fighter strip was taken on the 17th January 1944, the day 15 and 17 Squadrons moved up from Ondonga.  Construction of the airstrip had started two days after the landings at Empress Augusta Bay (seen behind) on 1 November 1943 and the strip was first used on 24 November when an SBD carried out a forced landing.  It was used as a refuelling stop by RNZAF fighter squadrons from 17 December 1943 until the move in January 1944.  RNZAF Official

  In this low-level photograph of an attack on Lakunai airfield using phosphorus bombs, a G4M ‘Betty’ can be clearly seen in the foreground.  via RNZAF Museum

  The three main Japanese airfields on Rabaul were Lakunai, Vunakanau and Tobera.  Because of their high concentrations of aircraft, they were commonly targeted between November 1943 and February 1944 until the Japanese Navy withdrew the remnants to Truk.  In this photograph, an A6M2 Model 21 has its 14-cylinder ‘Sakae’ engine serviced at Lakunai.  The rounded peak of Mt Kabiu (Mother) can be seen behind.

  On 27 January 1944, F/O G. M. Robertson (shown here at Torokina) shot down an A6M over Rabaul while flying as cover for two formations of B-25 Mitchells that were attacking Lakunai airfield.  This photograph clearly illustrates the amount of clothing and equipment used by P-40 pilots in the Pacific.  Items shown here include, RAF Mark IIIA goggles, RNZAF 1943 Tropical pattern flying helmet, oxygen mask, overalls, life vest, gloves, boots, parachute and dinghy pack.  RNZAF Official

  With flaps fully extended, an RNZAF P-40 returns from an operation to the Marston matting covered surface of Torokina strip.  RNZAF Official

  On 4 February 1944, flak blew away most of the rudder of a P-40 flown by P/O R. A. MacKinder while he was escorting B-25s on a strike to Tobera. Despite the damage, he was able to return to Torokina and land safely.  RNZAF Official

  F/Lt R. H. Balfour (left) and S/L J. A. Oldfield were the last pilots to make claims for enemy aircraft destroyed while flying for an RNZAF squadron in the 20th Century.  While flying with 18 Squadron on 13 February 1944, Balfour and Oldfield each claimed a Zeke while carrying out an escort operation to Vunakanau, New Britain. RNZAF Official

  The surrender on Bougainville took place at Torokina on 8 September 1945 when Lieutenant-General Stanley G. Savige (seated in the middle at back), commanding the 2nd Australian Corps, received the surrender of Lieutenant-General Masatane Kanda (seated in front at right) and his troops.  Kanda’s aide-de-camp is seated to the left.  Air Commodore G. N. Roberts (shown standing to left of American flag), AOC New Zealand Air Task Force, represented New Zealand.  RNZAF Official via NZ Wings

  Hundreds of New Zealanders serving with the RNZAF during WWII were killed in the Pacific.  Thousands more lost their lives in conflicts further afield.  Sgt C. B. Grubb was one of 37 RNZAF P-40 pilots killed in the Pacific.  He went missing during an operation on 22 January 1944 and his whereabouts remained unknown until 2 October 1945, when his grave was discovered near Bitagalip, south-east of Rabaul, New Britain. RNZAF Official

  This Nakajima Ki-43-1c Hayabusa ‘Oscar’, was photographed in the jungle at Vunakanau airfield, New Britain, on 17 September 1945, a month after hostilities had ceased.  This particular aircraft was taken to Australia before being acquired by Sir Tim Wallis and shipped to New Zealand in 1994.  Following restoration to a non-airworthy condition, it inadvertently got airborne on 29 March 1996, when Simon Spencer-Bower carried out a high-speed taxi at Wanaka airfield.  RNZAF Official

  Members of the Missing Personnel Investigation Unit discovered this battle-damaged A6M2 Model 21 at Kavieng, New Ireland, after the war.  Clearly evident in this photograph are the folding wing-tips and machine-gun troughs on top of the cowling.  RNZAF Official

  The RNZAF operated 172 P-40Ns.  This aircraft (NZ3283) was lost on 13 February 1945 when it crashed north of Hunterville, North Island, killing the pilot, F/Lt H. E. Boucher.  It is shown here at Ohakea in a bare-metal scheme while undergoing speed trials with a Lockheed PV-1 Ventura.  RNZAF Official

  This photograph, taken on 17 November 1943, shows an unknown artist adding F/O L. A. Rayner’s claim to the New Zealand Fighter Wing’s scoreboard at Ondonga.  It is clear that Rayner’s claim was considered to be the 57th enemy aircraft claimed as destroyed by the Wing.  RNZAF Official

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