Any ideas on identity ?

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


I have had what you see in the attached photo for quite a number of years. It was given to me following my uncle's death. He had collected it in June 1942 in Papua New Guinea from what he described in a diary he kept at the time as " coming from Captain Rogers' wrecked plane ".I don't know if Rogers was American or Australian but I do know that my uncle spoke to him at the site of the wreck.
Several times over the years I have tried to find out what the aircraft was that it came from.Quite recently I came across a cockpit photo of a Douglas Dauntless ( A 24 ) and from what I can make out this could be what I'm looking for.
As far as I know we don't have any A 24 aircraft in Australian museums that I could compare it with, so I was wondering if anybody would care to comment on the photo. Is there anywhere that it is possible to match pilot's names with particular aircraft ?


  • Bomber Control 4.JPG
    Bomber Control 4.JPG
    20.4 KB · Views: 237
Hi !!!
Judging by info you 've attached your uncle served in the Papua New Guinea during WW2.Do you know for what unit he worked?It could be a nice clue.

Hi Wurger,
It's a good point you make but in fact he wasn't actually serving in New Guinea at the time - more just passing through ! He was with the Australian Army in New Britain at Rabaul when quite a number of Australians were massacred by the Japanese.He was lucky enough to escape in a small boat to Madang in New Guinea. With a few others he managed to cross New guinea to Port Moresby from where the survivors were evacuated back to Australia some months after leaving Rabaul.
It was when he was crossing New Guinea that he collected the souvenir you see in my photograph.
Hi !!!
It is also a good info.I'll try to find something in books.

to next contact.
Hi Wurger,
The only other piece of useful information I have concerning where he collected the souvenir, is that it must have been somewhere near a place called Ramu.Thanks for your interest.
You're absolutely correct Wildcat,the top button ( which is slightly offset to the left of centre, unlike some in other types of aircraft ) is in fact marked with a "B".Incidentally both buttons work quite well as there is virtually no corrosion inside. Although the photograph has been taken with the handle as you would expect to find it in the aircraft, it tends to be more horizontal these days as it forms the handle of a walking stick which my uncle made after collecting it.Thanks for the links to the photographs.The b&w cockpit photo certainly shows plenty of detail although it's amazing how many cockpit photos fail to show much of the stick when that's what you are looking for.Aggle.
There is a stick of Helldiver.It looks like in the pic posted by Aggle.It is possible that the part of american bombers could be a standard mounted component.

source unknown:


  • helldiver_stick.jpg
    73.5 KB · Views: 204
Hi Wurger,re the Helldiver stick in your attached photograph.I agree that the two sticks look very similar and that possibly the Americans could have used common components.Although it is very hard to see in the photo I think I can see a difference however. In your picture you can see a light area on the rear of the stick about a quarter of the way up the hand grip which I'm assuming is a screw, as mine has a screw in this area.In your photo this screw is about a quarter of the way up from the bottom of the hand grip but on mine this screw is closer to one third of the way up.( On mine the screw is approximately 50 mm up from the bottom and the hand grip is approximately 160 mm long. In your photo I reckon the handle is about 30 mm long with the screw being about 7 to 8 mm from the bottom. ) Actually in my search I thought it might have been from a Vought Corsair for a while until I realised that the screw was in a similar position to the one in the Helldiver. Also I doubt whether any Corsairs flew in New Guinea during WW2.
Aggle do you know much about your uncles service in WWII? Being at Rabaul he was part of Lark Force which was a force of about 1400 soldiers. When Lark Force was overwhelmed, the Japanese massacred 160 of them at Tol plantation. This was not the only tragidy however, as in July 1942, 1000 Aussie POW's and some civilians were drowned when the ship transporting them to Japan was sunk by a US sub off the Phillipines. Your uncle was indeed a very lucky man. Him and the few others that managed to escape capture by travelling to New Guinea were, in my opinion, very brave and daring men.
Yes Wildcat I'm fortunate to have a diary that my uncle kept. He was very lucky to have survived and to eventually get back to Australia some 6 months after the Japanese landing.Sometimes it wasn't enemy action that proved fatal for some men but malaria.A lot of his diary entries mention the oppressive heat and often heavy rain but sometimes entries are a little more light hearted such as :
" Pick up Jap pamphlets urging surrender. Decline, but find use for pamphlets !!"
aggle said:
Also I doubt whether any Corsairs flew in New Guinea during WW2.

Hi Aggle !!!
You are right that the stick in my picture looks a bit different from yours.Looking at this much more carefully I've realized it.As far as Corsair is concerned,in that time the plane couldn't take part in the struggles over New Guinea.But later,it was possible.
I'm living in Port Moresby PNG and spend a lot of time tracking WW2 history in the field.
Buck Rogers was the commander of the 3rd Light Bombardment Group, which flew A24s They were based initially in Townsville, then Port Moresby. When a B25 made an emergency landing at Aiyura [upper Ramu valley], and suffered damage, 3 A24s flew up from Port Moresby to recover the crew. all 3 cracked up on landing [it was a very rough strip] and two were killed. Buck Rogers was one of those that survived. This was about May /June 1942. The plane wrecks remained [nothing there today but you can fly to Aiyura on a scheduled flight]eventually all survivors were rescued. Several of the survivors of the capture of Rabaul [mostly AIF] made their way along the New Britain coast,across to the mainland, and a few climbed up to Goroka in the highlands where they were able to fly out to Port Moresby and eventually Australia. Your uncle made one heck of a big cross country walk, far harder than the kokoda track.
Buck Rogers was killed in late July 42 on a raid to Buna when 7 A24s bombed Japanese shipping supporting the invasion that led to the battle of the Kokoda Track. 5 of the 7 A24s were shot down on that raid , which led to the retirement of the A24s from combat duty.
Buck Rogers had an airfield on the outskirts of Port Moresby named after him[Rogers strip].
I imagine that Buck rogers family in the US would be delighted to obtain the joystick ,if you felt inclined to part with it.
Toms Tomatoes
G'day Aggle!

Re your comment about there probably not being any Corsairs in new Guinea during WW2 - there were!

The RNZAF had 424 Lend-Lease F4U-1A/-D/ and FG-1D Corsairs, the majority of which served out there with our Avengers, Dauntlesses, Dakotas and Catalinas. They were returned to NZ after the war (and very sadly all scrapped, bar 2).
A small number of Goodyear FG-1D's served with no.14 sqn. in Japan until no longer required, then were unceremoniously dumped together on the tarmac and burnt!

A4K, I was under the impression that the RNZAF didn't serve in New Guinea rather seeing their action in the Solomons, Bougainville and New Britain.
You might be right there Wildcat, in which case sorry Aggle! Need to check up on my info a bit...

(forgot to mention Hudsons, Venturas, and Harpoons too, by the way...)
Wildcat and Aggle, you're both right! Our aircraft were in numerous islands of the PNG umbrella (including our Corsairs at New Britain, etc.) but didn't fight over the 'mainland' as such. Always good to learn something...

Users who are viewing this thread