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 Slovenian MUSTANG Muster

A profile of the Mustang of FLTLT Barney DAVIES, shot down 1 April 1945.

Text by James OGLETHORPE

“Miha” MIHEV, who lives in Slovenia, is an aviation archaeologist.  He has sent us some fascinating pictures of Mustang components recovered from two 3SQN crash-sites in former “Yugoslav” territory, dating from early April 1945.  

DAVIES Crash Site

The first site is that of FLTLT David Barnaby "Barney" DAVIES, who parachuted from his Mustang near the village of Kuretno, after being hit by light flak.  Barney evaded capture with the help of local Slovenian farmers and Partisans.
Alan CLARK, who was Barney’s wingman - mentions them weaving between the hills so that they could shoot at retreating German road-traffic.  Alan also mentions that Barney then made a “second pass” on the same target…  – A fateful decision!  (These two Australians met a few days later, down on the ground, after BOTH being shot down by flak and consequently trekking the Partisan escape route!)

The attractive historical memorial at Barney's crash site.

The multi-lingual signage.
Locals recovering Barney's Merlin engine from the site for scrap, just after the war.
The large crowd that gathered for the memorial dedication.  Note the bent original propeller blade from Barney's Mustang (centre).


The second 3SQN Mustang that has been excavated by Miha is that of Warrant Officer John McINERHENEY. 
John was shot down by low-level flak close to the northern border of Slovenia, near Maribor, only a couple of days after Barney, on the 3rd of APRIL 1945.  [See the 3SQN Operations Record Book, pages 676 and 682.]  John evaded capture with the help of the Partisans.  (Alan CLARK was also shot down on the same day as John, but in a different area.  - Al's wreck  has recently been located by Miha 12km West-South-West of the town of Ptuj.)

The Association has been able to help Miha with identifying some of John's Mustang parts.  Our member Bruce NASH (son of Murray, who was C.O. 3SQN in April 1945) has contacts with a Mustang maintenance organisation, Cal-Pacific Airmotive, in California.  Not only were they able to decode old part numbers, they even sent us copies of the original wartime blueprints!  (And all as an "overnight" service!  Outstanding!)

John's Mustang, FB290, during its earlier service with RAF 112 SQN.
McInerheney’s Mustang (a Mark III, coded “CV-J”, serial FB290) was camouflaged dark green/grey and had an old-fashioned “hinged” style of cockpit frame.  (Which failed to jettison at John’s critical moment!)  This aircraft had seen previous service with 112 Squadron RAF (“Shark Mouth”) and 260 Squadron RAF, both of which operated alongside 3SQN as part of 239 Wing in Northern Italy.

John's thrilling evasion story after he baled-out from his Mustang has been preserved in a 3SQN File in the National Archives (pages 15-16).  He also received some press coverage in his home town, Perth: "One of the Last to Hear of Victory".

Miha’s finds include some well-preserved 50-calibre bullets that still have their painted ‘colour coded’ tips. 
(Black for “Armour Piercing”; blue for “Incendiary”.) 

A twisted piece of John’s Propeller Spinner shows that the factory-applied RAF “Sky” colour was over-painted with “Desert Air Force Red”. 
[Pale-green “Camotint-Sky” was just one of the many inventions of the amazing Australian aviator Sidney COTTON, who also designed the Sidcot flying-suit, also worn by some 3SQN pilots.]

John back in Perth after returning safely home.

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