|THE DOUGLAS SBD DAUNTLESS IN RNZAF SERVICE|
Formed at Seagrove airfield on the southern shore of the Manukau Harbour in Auckland on July 31st, 1943, 25 (Dive Bomber) Squadron supported by 25 Servicing Unit, was initially equipped with nine war weary U.S. Marine Corps (ex-MAG 14) SBD-3 and -4 aircraft reputed to have seen service at the battle of the Coral Sea and the initial battles for Guadalcanal.
Under the command of Squadron Leader T.J. McLean de Lange, the Squadron carried out training missions around the Auckland and Waikato areas, but found the clapped out aircraft to be a major servicing nightmare, with a 40% serviceability rate being the norm!
aircraft were firstly operated in their Marine Corps markings of Blue-Grey
Upper surfaces with Light Grey Undersurfaces. Insignia was the early
U.S. White Star in a Blue circle in six positions. Most of these aircraft
were marked with a white number on the fuselage behind the star, some
quite crudely painted, with the number repeated on both sides of the
nose cowling in a smaller size.
August, these aircraft began to receive temporary RNZAF serial numbers
(NZ205-NZ222) but by late November, early December, had been allocated
full RNZAF serials (NZ5001-NZ5018). A further nine aircraft
were borrowed and received RNZAF serials - NZ5019 - NZ5027.
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