AK803 shipping number: 233
Construction Number: 15184
AK803 was accepted by the RAF on 8th Oct 1941, and was delivered on the
15th Oct 1941 in fly away condition. AK803 was invoiced to the RAF on
October 2nd, 1941. The cost of AK803 was US $36,347.00.
(Special thanks to Craig Bushby for the information provided above.)
-1941: A production order that was intended for the RAF was diverted to the RCAF, on October 16th, 1941, AK803 was the fifth P-40 of 156 to land in Canada. Initially posted to the RCAF Station in Dartmouth Nova Scotia AK803 was utilized in anti submarine patrols. In June 1942 AK803 and the other 16 of the 20 118 Squadron Kittyhawks made a record breaking 4,000 mile (6,436) crossing from Dartmouth to Annette Island, Alaska.
-1942: AK803 is located at Annette Island, Alaska. Upon take-off the brake was used to much and caused the brake to over heat, as the P-40 roared down the rough runway a wheel hit a rough spot and the gear collapsed. The P-40 ended up on the side of the runway. Accidents were not usual for the P-40. Later in 1942 the minor damage caused to the P-40 was repaired and AK803s British Serial Number was dropped and AK803 became 1034. After its repair it was posted to Boundary Bay, south of Vancouver, British Columbia. The P-40 was used for fighter affiliation work with Liberators and Mitchells stationed in the Vancouver Area. From Vancouver AK803 made a short flight to Patricia Bay/ Victoria International Airport on Vancouver Island, a Squadron change to 133 RCAF was issued. The bad luck with the landing gear continued. Upon landing on the runway the landing gear gave way, It had not been hand pumped to insure that the gear was fully down and locked. As the wheels touched the runway the right side landing gear gave way and the gear buckled under the weight and the P-40 ended up on its belly. Soon after the P-40 was barged to Coates Limited on Sea Island (now Vancouver International Airport) across the Strait of Georgia for repair and camouflage removal. 1034 was stripped of war paint, polished and sent on a War Bond drive to sit, shining in the sun at Brockton Point Oval in Vancouver. Later the P-40 was ferried back to Patricia Bay where it was stored in bare metal condition until declared surplus in August 1946.
-1946: George Maude, who grew up on Saltspring Island joined the RCAF in 1943. He was posted to Patricia Bay and had a fond interest in aircraft. After the war ended the RCAF held a surplus sale and 1034 came up for auction. George Maude paid $50 for the Kittyhawk. Later that same year George Maude, along with some help from a friend by the name of Pete Stevens, towed the Kittyhawk , on a raft of logs, from Patricia Bay, to Saltspring Island, BC. Upon reaching Saltspring the wings had to be cut off to clear the telephone poles that lined the street leading to the Maude Family house. The aircraft remained on Saltspring for 28 years and was frequently started up. The P-40 was a well known tourist attraction on the Island.
-1974: The P-40, with the tail wheel placed in a wooden box in the back of a pickup truck that was owned by a close friend of the family, by the name of Albert Van Wyk, boarded the Saltspring Queen, a local BC Ferry, and headed back to Patricia Bay, where a full wing change took place. The wing change took place first by removing the old cut up wings and there after replaced with a pair that George Maude had found in Champion, Alberta, in 1963, the wing change couldn't have taken place if it had not been for person, Bill Sylvester. It was his persistent urging that brought the P-40 back to Pat Bay. He owned Victoria Flying Services where the work was done and donated the hangar space for the aircraft for several years and provided lots of support. He was a big reason it was taken off Saltspring Island. To the present day the Kittyhawk is credited as being one of the most original P-40s in existence, with the exception of the six 50 inch caliber machine-guns and the radios. Since the restoration George Maude, and son David Maude have collected many spare parts, including a long-range belly fuel tank and the radios.
A few facts:
-P-40s remains the most representative of the defensive fighters
used on the west cost of Canada during the war.
- The P-40 saw service in the following Squadrons: 111, 118, 132,
133, and 135 West Coast RCAF Squadron.
- The P-40 was involved in hostile activities against the Japanese in
Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
- The P-40 has the distinction of being the only RCAF type to make a
kill against enemy aircraft while based in North America.
- The P-40 was the only allied fighter to see active duty in all theaters of war in WWII.