ON 19 MARCH 1944


In March 1944 six Kittyhawks of 86 Squadron RAAF flew from Merauke to Horn Island for a temporary attachment to 84 Squadron RAAF.

On the 19 March 1944, a USAAF P-47D-20/25 Thunderbolt veered off the airstrip during take-off after suffering an engine failure and crashed into two of 86 Squadron's Kittyhawks which were parked in a standby position at the eastern end of the Horn island airstrip.


Photo:- Terry Wesleyy-Smith

Remains of a P-47 Thunderbolt adjacent to the Horn Island Airfield in 1975. Terry
Wesley-Smith described the aircraft wreck as having a big, radial engined, 4 blade
prop, and .50 cal guns. It had two very prominent “gullies” along the underside of the
fuselage. This is probably the P-47 involved in this collision with two Kittyhawks.


Profile by Gordon Birkett

P-40M Kittyhawk A29-336


The two Kittyhawks were destroyed in this accident. One of these was P-40M Kittyhawk A29-336 (#43-5657) "MP-Z" of 86 Squadron RAAF which had been delivered to the RAAF in March 1943. A29-336 was damaged and went to 1RSU on 26 March 1944 along with the remains of A29-308 and Kittyhawk A29-339 which went to 1RSU for an engine change.


Profile by Gordon Birkett

P-40M Kittyhawk A29-308


The other aircraft was P-40M Kittyhawk A29-308 (#43-5441) "MP-G" of 86 Squadron RAAF. This second Kittyhawk was destroyed in the subsequent fire. One source also shows this aircraft possibly being involved in an accident in about March 1943 (I wonder if it is the same incident and they had the wrong year).

P-40 Kittyhawk A29-334 was another one of the six Kittyhawks on detachment from Merauke with 84 Squadron RAAF providing cover for the "Soedoe" at Horn Island. "Soedoe" is apparently code or short description for a freighter that sailed between Merauke and Thursday Island.



I'd like to thank Terry Wesley-Smith, Gordon Birkett, Vanessa Seekee of Horn Island, and Frank Hohmann for their assistance with this web page.



"86 Squadron 1943-45 - Men, Kittyhawks and Mustangs"
By Peter F. Howard

"The Spitfire, Mustang & Kittyhawk in Australian Service"
by Stewart Wilson


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


I need your help


©  Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 28 February 1999

This page last updated 30 August 2015