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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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17.12.1943 Fighter Wing RNZAF P-40N NZ3153 W/Cdr. Freeman

Operation: Sweep

Date: 17th December 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: Fighter Wing RNZAF

Type: P-40N Warhawk

Serial: NZ3153

Code: F

Base: Ondonga, New Georgia, Solomon Islands

Location: Hunter Point, New Ireland

Pilot: W/Cdr. Trevor Owen Freeman DSO. DFC and bar. NZ/1026 Age 27. Missing - believed killed


After refuelling at Torokino at Bouganville and then taking off at 09:00 hrs leading 24 aircraft from 14 and 16 Squadron which arrived over Rabaul at 10:30 hrs. They were joined by 22 US Navy Hellcats and 31 US Marine Corp F4U Corsairs.

NZ3153 was last seen by two other pilots that he had separated from the others and under attack by 7 or 8 enemy fighters at 1500 ft near Hunter Point South West of New Ireland.

Above: Fl/Lt. Frederick Harry Denton DFC. NZ/4260367, W/Cmdr. Edward George Olson NZ/1008 (1), Sq/Ldr. John Mathias Gamble, W/Cdr. Trevor Owen Freeman DSO. DFC and bar. (courtesy Jenifer Lemaire)

Also lost on this operation Fl/Lt. John Osborne McFarlane NZ/402881 RNZAF with 16 Squadron. Believed to have been shot down near Mt. Turanguna near Rabaul flying NZ3175 - 65 (2). F/O. Bull flying NZ3151 - 55 was hit twice by enemy fighters but managed to return safely to Torokina, but was ordered to crash land his Warhawk on the beach as he could not lower his undercarriage. Pilot safe, aircraft later struck off charge the following year.

(1) Then a 39 year old, Air/Cmdr. Edward George Olson died at the New Plymouth hospital, New Zealand after being repatriated on the 11 March 1945 on medical grounds.

W/Cdr. Trevor Owen Freeman DSO Citation London Gazette 23rd December 1941:

"This officer has been engaged on active operations over a long period. Since commencing his second tour of operational flying in April 1941, Wing Commander Freeman has carried out thirteen sorties including attacks on Kiel, Berlin and other important targets in Germany, a daylight raid on Brest and an attack on Turin in Italy. As Commanding Officer of the squadron he has set a splendid example by his leadership, enthusiasm and courage"

Burial details:

W/Cdr. Trevor Owen Freeman DSO. DFC and bar. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 05th June 1916 at Lawrence, the son of William Frederick and Elizabeth Allan Freeman (née Hall), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand and husband of Juliet Maitland Freeman (née Edwards) of London, England. A total of 1983 flying hours logged. Obtained his pilot licence at Otago Flying Club on the 27th November 1933.

Embarked on the SS Marama for England on the 04th January 1934. After training with 3 Flying Training School joined 74 Squadron on the on the 18th December. Squadron predesignated 75 squadron (RNZAF). Became Group Training Instructor on the 26th September 1940. Joined 57 Squadron on the 21st June 1941 then to 115 Squadron on the 23rd August 1941 as Commanding Officer. After several other postings in various senior positions he then went to New Georgia on the as Commanding Officer on the 17th October 1943 - 07th December 1943. Then joined Fighter Wing also as Commanding Officer flying the P-40.


Fl/Lt. John Osborne McFarlane. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 16th December 1920 at Otago, the son of Herbert Osbourne McFarlane and of Fanny Cathcart McFarlane (née Coote), of 72 English Avenue, Mornington, Auckland City, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as an architect for Mandeno and Fraser in Dunedin.

(2) Tragic that the parents lost 3 sons in the war. 25 year old, F/O. Laurence Herbert McFarlane 39543 RAF, killed on the 02nd July 1940 whilst with 58 Squadron. 23 year old, 2nd Lt. Donald Forrester McFarlane 2475 New Zealand Engineers, killed on the 03rd December 1941.

F/O. Laurence Herbert McFarlane. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 3.A.9. Born on the 09th August 1914 at Otago, details of next of kin shown for John. Prior to service worked as a electrical and mechanical engineer. A total of 581 flying hors logged. He escaped with slight injuries when Heyford III K5183 crashed short of the runway at Honington, Suffolk. The pilot, P/O. Thomas Arthur Bunting was killed. Further details on the accident.

2nd Lt. Donald Forrester McFarlane. Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Grave 16.C.4. Age 23. 5 Field Company. No further details.

Air/Cmdr. Edward George Olson DSO. New Plymouth Cemetery. Grave AS.1. Born on the 27th February 1906 at New Plymouth, the son of Percy George Olson, and of Ellen Olson (née Sullivan), of New Plymouth, Taranaki and husband of Myrtle Mabel Olson (née Luxton), of Fitzroy, Taranaki, New Zealand. Atotla of nearly 4000 flying hours logged. Joined the RAF in 1926 and served two tours of duty. Commanded 75 Squadron RNZAF.

W/Cdr. John Mathias Gamble OBE, NZ/1158. Born on the 31st October 1900 - died 01st April 1987, age 87.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and also to the wonderful research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Pacific Wrecks website, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 20.10.2019

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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