GEOFFREY BRYSON FISKEN
Geoffrey Bryson Fisken was born in Gisborne on February 17th, 1916, the son of a station-owner. During the thirties he learned to fly in a DH60 Gypsy Moth.
1939 Fisken was working for a farmer in Masterton and on the outbreak
of war, he volunteered for flying duties. As his job was a reserved
occupation, he was not released until early 1940 by his employer for
service in the RNZAF.
Malaya / Burma / Singapore February 1941 - February 1942
1941 he was posted to Singapore, where he was attached to the RAAF at
Sembawang for a conversion course on to Wirraways, and then on to Buffalos.
After the Japanese invaded Malaya on December 8th, 1941, the squadron was quickly into action. Fiskens' aircraft was a Brewster B339E Buffalo serialed W8147 and coded WP- O .
Ki-27 claimed on January 12th, 1942.
the end of January, 243 Squadron had virtually ceased to exist as a
unit due to severe losses, and the surviving pilots, Fisken amongst
them, took their aircraft and attached themselves to 453 (RAAF) Squadron.
Note: In this theatre, almost all aircraft claimed as 'Zeros' were in fact Imperial Japanese Army Ki43 'Oscars'.
Squadron retired to Batavia in Java, in February 1942, and the remaining
personnel eventually reached Australia, disbanding on arrival at Adelaide
on March 15)
Colours were standard RAF Dark Earth/Dark Green over Sky. Squadron codes were Light Grey, with a Sky fuselage band. Serials were Black.
Pacific - April 1943 - December 1943
March, with other Kiwi pilot survivors from 243 and 488 Squadrons, Fisken
returned to New Zealand. After a short stay at Wigram in Christchurch,
he was posted to Ohakea.
Squadron then moved to Masterton and trained on Harvards before receiving
September 1943 Fisken was awarded the DFC. He was then invalided out
of the RNZAF in December due to the wounds he had received in Singapore.
Fisken was the top scoring Commonwealth pilot against the Japanese, with his final tally of eleven aircraft destroyed and another five probably destroyed
This text has been adapted from the notes on Geoff Fisken at the NZ
Fighter Pilots Museum Web site: http://www.nzfpm.co.nz/
P-40M-5 NZ3072. THE 'WAIRARAPA WILDCAT'
by ship at Auckland, and was assembled and test flown at Hobsonville
in March 1943. It suffered minor damage at New Caledonia on the ferry
flight north, and was repaired by the local U.S.Army Air Service Command
Geoff Fisken had been allocated this aircraft as at this time, the squadrons and pilots 'owned' their individual aircraft. It had been decided to leave the markings on, and as many in the Squadron came from the Wairarapa area in the lower North Island of New Zealand, it was dubbed the 'Wairarapa Wildcat'. Fisken's six victory flags scored in the defence of Malaya were added to the port cowl, to which were added a further five he scored with 14 Squadron during their first tour.
After 14 Squadron, NZ3072 flew operationally with several others, surviving an encounter with a water tanker when landing at Segi (on the eastern end of New Georgia Island) as recounted below:
August, we returned to Segi. Maurice was in good spirits, having completely
recovered from the dusting the Japs had given him over Kahili on the
26th. We came into land and headed for our revetment expecting to find
the taxi ways clear of any thing other than aircraft, but no system
extract from 'Kittyhawks and Coconuts' by Keith Mulligan, who flew three
tours with 16 Squadron.
NZ3072 survived its tours of duty, and ended up back in NZ in early 1944 where it was used for training at Ardmore near Auckland, and at Ohakea . It also managed to survive a mid air collision, and the attentions of trainee pilots:
aircraft was involved in a formation change while flying at 700 feet.
During the change, NZ3112 (Sgt Tirikatane) overshot, passing underneath
An extract from the official report after a collision at 4(OTU), Ardmore, Auckland on 6th June, 1944.
"Many of the Kittyhawks/Warhawks on our flightline at Ohakea had seen active service in the Solomons and Rabaul, New Britain - One of the most illustrious was NZ 3072 which had been flown by F/0 G.B. Fisken, but its name "Wairarapa Wildcat" and Japanese flags had been painted over when we flew it. However, some P- 40s still displayed their victory flags, and one had two Japanese and one New Zealand flag painted on it - the latter probably from a collision!
Ohakea was an extremely busy station with two Fighter and one Bomber OTU's operating simultaneously, and on visiting the Control Tower I was told that there were approximately 1,100 takeoffs and landings per day!
I flew NZ3072
on three successive, days doing aerobatics and formation flying."
An extract from 'Pacific Scrapbook 1943-1947' by Bryan Cox. (He also has an entry in his log book for NZ3060)
NZ3072 was unfortunately scrapped along with most of our lend/lease aircraft in 1947/48.
PHOTOS AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF NZ3072
NZ3072 taxies out at Kukum Field, Guadalcanal, June/July 1943. The black cat can just be seen behind the '19'. Also note the amount of dust being stirred up!
of 14 Squadron taxi out at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, 1943.
has not been well publicised, but Geoff Fisken scored three of his Pacific
victories while flying NZ3060 on the 4th of July, 1943.
A P-40K-15, NZ3060 was assembled and test flown at Hobsonville in January 1943, and survived its tours of duty to be scrapped in New Zealand after the war.
(I wish to thank Jonathan Strickland from the USA for informing me as to the existence of the photographs reproduced below. P.M.)
taken from the photo below shows NZ3060 in close up.
A line up of 14 Squadron P-40's taxiing out at the start of a mission. The leading aircraft is NZ3060 '9', while that at the far right is NZ3072 '19', the 'Wairarapa Wildcat'
I thank Matthew O'Sullivan from the Museum for the prints used, and the Museum for permission to reproduce them.
The Museum may
be contacted by e-mail at :
Back to RNZAF service