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Normal Topic WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills (Read 15691 times)
Simon Gibson
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WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Dec 28th, 2009 at 2:08am
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Many years while at a friendís house in Wainuiomata I noticed a large bent propeller blade off an aircraft in the back yard. He related a story to us about a fighter plane crashing into the Rimutaka foothills behind Wainuiomata in low cloud while on a training mission in about 1942. He went up to the crash site the next day with a SAR team to recover the pilotís body. Being wartime the crash was not made public and the wreck was virtually forgotten about. In the 70's he told his sons about the wreck so they set fourth and found it. The wreck still had its machine guns and there was ammunition and wreckage all over the crash site. They returned with one of the machine guns out of a wing and proudly displayed it about the neighbour hood until the local cop turned up to relieve them of their prize. They also sawed off the remaining two blades of the propeller and brought them out. After their find an Air Force team visited the crash site and removed the remaining guns and cleaned up the ammunition littering the site. They also took any thing that might be of use for restoration of other aircraft.
I first visited the crash site in the early 90ís and took my son to see it recently and showed some photos to my work mates. One of the old guys who lives in Wainuiomata knew all about it and used to visit the site in the 60's as a youngster with his mates. He said the machine guns were still in the crumpled wings but they were not interested in taking them. To which I replied, ďyouíre bloody joking?Ē He also mentioned they had taken some of the large ammunition boxes out of the wings full of ammo and buried them on an open slip nearby. Now he had my interest. He offered me the use of a metal detector and drew a map of their location. The following pics are from my trip there yesterday looking for the ammo boxes and other wreckage.

Unfortunately I cannot find any information on the crash and donít even know what type of aircraft it was except that it was a single seater. My friend died years ago and took most of the crash history with him. There were 44 Kitty Hawk P-40E sent to NZ in 1942 for training so it may have been one of these. They were fitted with six 50cals in the wings.
Someone on the forum may be able to provide a few clues.


This is the V12 engine off the plane lying in the creek. It is several hundred metres from the crash site as my friends sons tried to carry it out in the seventies. An impossible task as it's two hours walk to the site up a very shitty creek.


Some of the landing gear


The armoured seat back which is 10mm plate


This wreckage still has cammo paint on it. On one visit there the creek had washed some of an old slip away exposing a piece of wreckage that looked brand new with cammo paint on it but i never saw that piece again as the slip probably recovered it.


Part of the main fuselage. Mostly buried in the creek bed.


More under carriage bits and my golden lab Midas.


My chocolate lab Hunter and me along with the metal detector on the ridge above the crash site. Unforunately the crash site has become so over grown I wasn't able to search much of it. It's also very steep with alot of the wreckage having been carried into the creek below by slips.


The view of Wainuiomata from just above the crash site. The Wainui Hill road is in the centre top of the pic.

No ammo boxes found but not a bad way to spend a wet Wellington day on the hill.
« Last Edit: Dec 28th, 2009 at 10:43am by Simon Gibson »  

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Re: W11 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #1 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 2:19am
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Hard case very interesting  Cool
  
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Re: W11 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #2 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 2:22am
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Sounds like a very cool school boys adventure you only get to read about in Hardy boys novels or Willard Price books.

Didnt know it could be done so close to wellington. Cool

Hope you do find the ammo box in good nick. Smiley
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #3 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 8:42am
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Good effort. Surely someone can identify the plane, even after all this time. Undecided
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #4 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 9:13pm
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Pretty sure it was a P40. There were a number of them based at Hood aerodrome Masterton during WW2.
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #5 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:02am
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Gear legs and fuselage pieces look very much like P40.  No tail feathers or fuselage remaining indicates they were tube and rag.  CrMo steel rusts out quickly so that also indicates P40.
Neat story thanks for sharing.
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #6 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:47pm
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Hi Simon,
If you are interested, there is a P40 based at Masterton which is flown reasonably often. Next show 23rd Jan I think it is.
You can visit the Old Stick and Rudder Company, open on Sundays, there is also a flying F4U Corsair which gets flown during the Wings over Wairarapa airshow, plus an assortment of WW1 aircraft which are also flyable.
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #7 - Dec 31st, 2009 at 7:42pm
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Thanks Horse, thats a great idea.

I'll drop into the hanger next time I'm in the Waiarapa and take my photos and compare under carriage bits etc. The guys there may even know the history of the crash.

cheers

Simon
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #8 - Dec 31st, 2009 at 8:15pm
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P-40 for sure - Thats a Allison V12 engine (1710 -**).
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #9 - Dec 31st, 2009 at 10:03pm
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Hi Simon,

Check out the Old Stick and Rudder Company web site. Sarah Randle is the lady who runs the hangar tours.
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #10 - Jan 1st, 2010 at 3:21am
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Some good history there.
Weren't interested in the guns!!!! †Smiley

The accident happened on the 1st May 1943
SGT Victor Thomas Marchant. R.I.P.

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=65221

Search through the 1939-45 years for some interesting reading
http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #11 - Jan 1st, 2010 at 9:48am
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Brilliant! Thanks Sako75

I knew someone on the forum would come up with an answer.

I'll get in touch with Sarah at the Old Stick and Rudder Company and see if I can get a look at their P40 close up.

Just love the history of it all.

Cheers

Simon
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #12 - Jan 4th, 2010 at 10:20am
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that motor looks like it could be out of icemans jet boat Grin
  

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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #13 - Jan 5th, 2010 at 4:19am
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Maybe the Stick & Rudder Company would want the wreckage as part of a display of historical interest. An easy lift for an R.22?
  
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Re: WW2 Fighter aircraft wreckage in the Rimutaka foot hills
Reply #14 - Jan 5th, 2010 at 10:20am
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Best left where it is although if it is in danger of being covered up by a slip maybe someone should look at relocating some parts........
One things for sure you need permission to touch it!
  
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