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Thread: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

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    Default Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    I've copied this out of one of Alex's most useful unaccounted threads (18 Jun 41) to gain maximum exposure.
    He listed:

    EGYPT
    MUNRO, Donald Alexander Ronald - P/O - 402130 - RAAF.
    Halfway Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt.
    Tomahawk IIb - AK383 - 250 Sqdn.


    This one is interesting with regard to the aircraft involved.
    The relevant Air-Britain serials book records AK383 as being with 5 Sqn SAAF, and force-landing with engine failure in the desert 23.5.42
    The 250 Sqn ORB reports P/O Munro's aircraft as just "383"
    Looking at the AM78 card for AK383, it is shown as FB(E) Missing 20.6.41. But this has been crossed out and annotated "Return stated AM483". AK383 is finally shown as SOC on 30.5.42 with 5 Sqn SAAF, which fits with the Air-Britain serials book entry.
    AM483 was lost with Station Flight Gaza when it force-landed S of Rafa on 26.10.41. Its AM78 card records it as SOC on 30.10.41. So another dead end.
    However, a look at the AM78 for AM383 provides the answer. This aircraft is shown as FB(E) Missing on 20.6.41, ie a duplicate of the original entry on AK383's card.
    I therefore conclude that it was AM383 that was P/O Munro's aircraft.
    Comments very welcome - please feel free to disagree!
    Last edited by Andy Marden; 3rd December 2023 at 16:13.

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Pilot and aircraft lost on 18 June 1941, remains not found until 8 February 1942 See pages 12, 17, 19, 94 and 95 in particular,
    https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/Sear...aspx?B=1055251

    Serial Registers,
    AK383 reported Middle East 16 September 1941, SOC 30 May 42. AK383 reported sent to Middle East from Takoradi in September 1941.
    AM383 reported Middle East 11 June 1941, SOC 20 Jun 41. Not in Takoradi logs to end September 1941.
    AM483 reported Middle East 15 August 1941, SOC 30 Oct 41. AM483 reported sent to Middle East from Takoradi in August 1941.

    AK335 seems to have been the first serial sent to Takoradi

    Assuming the US normally exported the Tomahawks in serial order, AK383 exported in January, AM383 and AM483 in March 1941 but then comes Takoradi, the first 8 flown to the Middle East were in March 1941, another 31 in April, then 43 in May and 53 in June. The Tomahawks shipped direct to the Middle East did not arrive until after June 1941.

    Takoradi Tomahawk fly outs, March to June 1941 inclusive, the number against June entries is the order they appear in the end of month summary which is probably fly out order, transcription errors and omissions are easily possible. In serial order.
    Serial from Takoradi order
    AK346 May-41
    AK348 May-41
    AK349 Apr-41
    AK350 Apr-41
    AK351 Mar-41
    AK352 Mar-41
    AK353 Apr-41
    AK354 Apr-41
    AK365 May-41
    AK366 May-41
    AK367 Apr-41
    AK368 May-41
    AK369 Apr-41
    AK370 May-41
    AK371 Apr-41
    AK372 Mar-41
    AK373 Apr-41
    AK374 Apr-41
    AK375 May-41
    AK376 May-41
    AK377 May-41
    AK378 May-41
    AK380 May-41
    AK381 Apr-41
    AK382 Mar-41
    AK384 May-41
    AK385 Apr-41
    AK386 Apr-41
    AK387 Apr-41
    AK388 Apr-41
    AK390 Apr-41
    AK391 Apr-41
    AK392 Apr-41
    AK393 May-41
    AK394 Apr-41
    AK395 Mar-41
    AK396 May-41
    AK397 Apr-41
    AK398 Mar-41
    AK399 Apr-41
    AK401 Mar-41
    AK402 May-41
    AK403 Apr-41
    AK404 May-41
    AK405 May-41
    AK407 Apr-41
    AK408 May-41
    AK409 Apr-41
    AK411 Apr-41
    AK412 May-41
    AK413 Jun-41 31
    AK414 Apr-41
    AK415 May-41
    AK416 May-41
    AK418 Apr-41
    AK419 May-41
    AK420 May-41
    AK422 Apr-41
    AK423 May-41
    AK424 May-41
    AK425 Apr-41
    AK427 May-41
    AK428 May-41
    AK429 May-41
    AK430 May-41
    AK432 May-41
    AK435 May-41
    AK436 May-41
    AK437 May-41
    AK438 Jun-41 42
    AK439 Apr-41
    AK440 Mar-41
    AK441 May-41
    AK443 May-41
    AK444 Jun-41 48
    AK445 Jun-41 10
    AK446 May-41
    AK447 Apr-41
    AK448 May-41
    AK449 May-41
    AK450 Apr-41
    AK453 May-41
    AK455 May-41
    AK456 May-41
    AK457 May-41 8 Also reported flown out in June 1942. AK445, AK454, AK459?
    AK458 Jun-41 19
    AK494 Jun-41 27
    AK495 Jun-41 53
    AK499 Jun-41 34
    AK503 Jun-41 22
    AK505 Jun-41 21
    AK511 Jun-41 26
    AK512 Jun-41 24
    AK516 Jun-41 16
    AK519 Jun-41 29
    AK520 Jun-41 6
    AK523 Jun-41 18
    AK524 Jun-41 40
    AK526 Jun-41 20
    AK530 Jun-41 37
    AK531 Jun-41 13
    AK533 Jun-41 28
    AK534 Jun-41 49
    AK537 Jun-41 1
    AK538 Jun-41 39
    AK539 Jun-41 33
    AK540 Jun-41 25
    AK541 Jun-41 32
    AK544 Jun-41 41
    AK545 Jun-41 44
    AK546 Jun-41 12
    AK551 Jun-41 14
    AK552 Jun-41 9
    AK553 Jun-41 43 Reported direct USA to Middle East, AM553 to UK.
    AK554 Jun-41 45
    AK555 Jun-41 35
    AK559 Jun-41 38
    AK561 Jun-41 3
    AK566 Jun-41 17
    AK567 Jun-41 15
    AM370 Jun-41 36
    AM392 Jun-41 23
    AM393 Jun-41 7
    AM396 Jun-41 2
    AM397 Jun-41 11
    AM398 Jun-41 4
    AM400 Jun-41 30
    AM401 Jun-41 5
    AM430 Jun-41 50
    AM442 Jun-41 46
    AM446 May-41
    AM448 Jun-41 47
    AM481 Jun-41 51
    AM505 Jun-41 52

    June fly outs by date
    4 on 4th
    4 on 5th
    4 on 8th
    4 on 10th
    4 on 12th
    5 on 15th
    5 on 17th
    4 on 20th
    4 on 22nd
    6 on 24th
    4 on 26th
    5 on 30th

    Shores et. al. A History of the Mediterranean Air War say 250 squadron lost AK383, AK399, AK403 and AK412 on 19 June 1941.

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Geoff,
    Thanks for the extra information. It seems from the Casualty File that the authorities around the time were also confused about the aircraft's serial.
    One of the problems is that the ORB compiler assumed that all the aircraft were AK-serialled.
    Looking at the relevant 250 Sqn ORB:
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8397065
    there are six sorties listed on 18 June 1941, including that of P/O Munro.
    As usual with this compiler, the first aircraft in the list is shown as AK401, but the remaining five are only referred to by digits (so 383 etc).
    Every day is the same. AK___ for the first aircraft, just numbers for the others.
    To close, are you content Geoff that this loss did indeed involve AM383?
    Andy

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Not that content as not all Tomahawks that arrived at Takoradi were flown out and there is no record of AM383 doing so, I would be cross checking 2 SAAF, 3 RAAF and 250 RAF Squadron against the list of aircraft Takoradi reports sending to mid June and see if that can help. 250 in particular for when 383 appeared and how often.

    To complete Takoradi fly out statistics 27 in July, 42 in August, 7 in September and 1 in October. 1 Write off by end May or early June. Loss at Takoradi includes damaged beyond repair on arrival, lost during local flying and lost in the Takoradi sector of the ferry route, which is up to and including the Ati staging post.

    AIR 8/511 agrees with the Takoradi Summary to end August 1941, both say 204 flown to the Middle East, Takoradi says 7 more flown out in September, 1 in October, total 212. Air 8/511 says 222 sent by end September including another 2 write offs and 9 shipped to the Middle East for repairs, then 1 in October, this means AIR 8/511 has 222 arriving, 223 leaving. Either a clerical error or one was lost after being recorded as departing and is double counted. In any case around 12 Tomahawks that arrived by end May 1941 were not flown to the Middle East.

    15 June 1941 report, there were 105 Tomahawks in the Middle East (49 in squadrons), and 119 at Takoradi, as of the 13 June report Takoradi agrees with the number it held and says it has had 1 write off and flown out 102 to the Middle East.

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Geoff,

    Re “AK553 Jun-41 43 Reported direct USA to Middle East, AM553 to UK.”, AM553 was a Hudson V.

    Robert

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Geoff,
    OK, I will leave it as unresolved for now.
    However, some good evidence to me appears on Page 94 of the Casualty File you listed.
    It quotes from a Form 3372 raised by the New Zealand Graves Registration and Enquiry Unit on 16 Jun 42 "stating that the body was recovered 30 yards east of a crashed British fighter aircraft No. A.M.383"
    Now this unit presumably wouldn't have gone equipped with the potential serials of wrecks they were likely to find. They would surely have just recorded the serial from the aircraft itself?
    Andy

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Hi all,
    From the Australian link kindly presented by Geof page 94 suggests that AM383 was an error?
    So we are back to AK383 ?
    Alex

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    No, I don't think we are.
    It suggests it was an error on Page 94 because they thought at the time that the aircraft lost was AK383.
    We know what happened to AK383. It was lost with 5 Sqn SAAF on 23 May 42.
    The AM78 cards favour AM383.
    I contend that the New Zealanders read the (correct) number from the side of the aircraft.

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Hi Andy,
    Yes I would agree that it would be more likely the man on the ground (at the actual crash site) would have better access to read and record the serial details.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Curtiss Kittyhawk/Tomahawk anomalies

    Gents

    Ahhhhh the joys of AK, AM, and AN serialed Tomahawks.

    I believe Munro was flying in AM383, as along with all the additional data above 250SQN received AK346, AK412 AM383 and AM446 on the 12th Jun 41

    Buz

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