CRASH OF A P-40E KITTYHAWK
3 MILES NORTH OF MAGNETIC ISLAND
OFF TOWNSVILLE, NORTH QUEENSLAND
ON 11 MAY 1943

 

2nd Lt Theodore S. Zendarski (ASN 0794379) flying P-40E-1 Kittyhawk (Warhawk) # 41-35954 "Texas Longhorn" was participating in an Aerial Gunnery mission flight with two other P-40E aircraft north of Magnetic Island off Townsville in north Queensland on 11 May 1943.

2nd Lt Zendarski completed the target shooting exercise with an Air Target Towing aircraft and lost control when he broke away from a flight of three P-40Es to start a series of slow rolls. Zendarski stalled his aircraft at 6500 ft, which then entered into an inverted spin which was not corrected in time. The aircraft crashed and cartwheeled into the sea about 3 miles north of Magnetic Island at 1210 hours on 11 May 1943 killing the pilot. His body was never recovered.

 


Photo:- Gordon Birkett Collection

Crew member and artist

 


Photo:- Gordon Birkett Collection

"Texas Longhorn" in August 1942

 

The aircraft and Pilot were assigned to the 5th Fighter Command Replacement Centre (5FCRC), Headquarters V Fighter Command, 5th AAF in Townsville.

2nd Lt Zendarski had 272 Hours 55 minutes flying hours at the time of this tragic accident. The two other Pilots of the accompanying P-40E-1s were 2nd Lts Robert Croft and Harry McCullough.

 

History of Aircraft from Gordon Birkett:- P-40E-1 Kittyhawk #41-35954 CW1061 Cn19787 BPC RAF No ET600 SUMAC/LEFT Ex-RAAF A29-125#1 9thFS Grp No#86 9thPS/8thFS-49thPG SS New Orleans 4/03/1942 arrived 4/04/1942 Issued 16/05/1943 Off 31/10/1944 #86 "Texas Longhorn"/ Forward Flight Leader Stripe. Shipped New Orleans 2 March 1942 to Australia for RAAF as originally A29-125 #1, re-issued USAAF on 4 June 1942. Flown in at Batchelor on 10 May 1942 with other 9th Fighter Squadron reinforcements #75, #74 and #99. In December 1942, the aircraft was transferred to 5th Fighter Command Replacement Centre (5FCRC) in Townsville (Z319 AP710) from 9th Fighter Squadron, 49 Fighter Group. Engine V1710-39 FY 42-34281 at time of flight. Aircraft had TTHrs 306 at time of accident

 

Note:- Another source shows this accident happening on 12 May 1943. 2nd Lt Zendarski is listed on the American Battle Monuments Commission web page and the date is shown at 11 May 1943.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 26 February 2011

This page last updated 30 August 2015