As the result of correspondence between two armourers of No. 4 Servicing Unit at Ondonga, on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, and a pen-friend who was a tuberculosis patient at Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand named Gloria Lyons, it was decided to adopt her as a unit mascot.  At that time 4 (SU) aircraft carried code letters, so one P-40N-1, NZ3148 coded 'G', was duly christened 'Gloria Lyons', and this name was painted on the lower engine cowls.

(Note; This is one of the aircraft featured in the Aeromaster Decals special sheet SP48-10.)

The 'real' Gloria Lyons. (Via Dave Wilson)




P-40N-1 NZ3148 'G' of 4(S.U.), the first of the three P-40's named 'Gloria Lyons'. 
Note bars to underwing roundels, and staining around fuselage ID bands.
This has aften been misinterpreted as being Red borders to the ID bands!



After this aircraft was written off due to a crash landing on February 9th, 1944, another candidate was found in NZ3167 ( This a/c has often been listed as having been NZ3188), a P-40N-5 that was also sign written with the name. 
This aircraft was also to be written off (two weeks later) after being hit by enemy ground fire while on a strafing mission to northern Bougainville on May 17th, 1944.  The pilot, who co-incidentally was involved in the loss of the first 'Gloria Lyons', was forced to bail out into the sea. (Information on corrected serial via Daneby Liddell)

A third P-40 (an N-20), NZ3220, was selected as the next candidate, and was duly marked. This aircraft managed to survive the war and the melting pot, and now is privately owned and stored at Mapua (near Nelson).

The cumulative scores and missions of the three 'Gloria Lyons' P-40s were painted on the cowl of NZ3220. When it returned to New Zealand in late 1944, it was repainted in the Foliage Green/(NZ) Sky Gray scheme, but the markings were retained. These were 55 Yellow bomb symbols representing strike missions, and two and a half Japanese flags representing victories over enemy aircraft. 



P-40N-20,  NZ3220,  of 4(S.U.) when flown by 18 Squadron pilots, June/July 1944. This was the third of the 'Gloria Lyons' P-40's.
Colours were Olive Drab/Neutral Gray, with White spinner and tail plane assembly.


A newspaper clipping from the time. NZ3220 from the Christchurch 'Press' (via Dave Wilson)




NZ3220 photographed when back in New Zealand, 1944/45. 
It has been repainted in the Foliage Green/(NZ) Sky Grey scheme, but retained the I.D. bands and White tailplane area. 


As a footnote, the fourth and last 'Gloria Lyons' was an F4U-1A, NZ5233, which was written off after a landing accident at Torokina on June 15th, 1944.



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