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On Christmas Eve 1941, Paul Irving "Pappy" Gunn was ordered to fly a load of passengers from the Philippines to Australia.

Gunn made it through to Brisbane. On 20 January 1942, twenty crated P-40 Kittyhawks arrived in Brisbane. Gunn round up a crew of American and Australian personnel and started to de-crate and assemble the Kittyhawks. More crated Kittyhawks were due shortly on another ship. Gunn also rounded up 25 pilots from the 17th Fighter Group who had recently arrived in Brisbane from the Philippines to help with the Kittyhawk assembly.

The Kittyhawks were fully assembled, and test flown by the end of January 1942. On 16 February 1942, 17 Kittyhawks, formed into two flights, and left left Brisbane.

From Brisbane they would fly 400 miles due west to Charleville. Then a further 550 miles to Cloncurry, still in Queensland. The next leg was a 500 mile hop to Daly Waters in the Northern Territory and then finally the leg to Darwin. This route was part of what was known as the "Brereton Route" from Brisbane to Java. It was a total distance of 3,600 miles.

"Pappy" Gunn led one of the two flights in his Beechcraft (also known as a C-45). They arrived in Darwin 3 days later minus 3 Kittyhawks which had crashed along the way.


Can anyone help me with more information on these crashes?

Locations, dates, cause of crash, pilot's name, etc


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This page first produced 23 July 2000

This page last updated 01 August 2004