N.Z. PILOT'S PLIGHT DROPPED IN ENEMY LINES R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service BOUGAINVILLE, July 13. Parachuting into enemy territory when his aircraft went out of control after a strike on Japanese positions in South Bougainville last Sunday morning, a New Zealand Corsair pilot, Pilot-Officer IX H. Trim, of Wellington, spent three days and nights wandering through some of the worst jungle in the South Pacific before being rescued by a party of Australian infantry yesterday. The searching patrol found him hiding within a short distance of the enemy. Pilot-Officer Trim, who is on his third tour of Pacific duty, was one of twelve Corsair pilots who were on a bombing mission a few miles east of the Mivo River, where the Japanese are strongly resisting the Australian advance. He was forced to abandon his aircraft at 2000 feet and the Corsair crashed into the jungle in flames. The pilot floated down until his parachute was tangled in treetops about five mUes on the enemy side of the Mivo River, and he was left swinging 25 feet above the ground. He grabbed a branch, but it cracked under his weight, and with his harness released he fell to the ground, but was saved from injury by the swampy, spongy nature of the earth. * Later Pilot-Officer Trim took compass bearings and hacked his way through dense swamp and jungle until he reached the bank of the Mivo. It was here he had his first unlucky break. He was within 100 yards of an Australian camp oh the other bank, but had no way of ■knowing it. The Australians crossed the river later during patrol and saw Trim's footprints, but mistook them for marks of Japanese. DoWtl River Trip "It was fiendishly hot in the jungle, and I was feeling limp after my trek so I sat down on the river bank and took stock of my position, said Trim, "I formed a plan to await nightfall before inflating a rubber dinghy and drifting downstream to the river mouth where there was a good chance of being observed by our Corsairs. I decided to have a short sleep until dusk, he continued, adding that this plan was not put into operation as he was exhausted beyond description. He slept for the rest <3f. the afternoon and well into the night. When he awoke it was Monday, and rain was falling in torrents. "Diving into the river which was swiftflowing and swollen, I floated 4000 yards downstream," said Trim, "and by daybreak I reached a sand-bar where I decided to rest and dry my clothes." Meanwhile art intensive air and ground search was being made for the missing pilot. Corsairs and R.A.A.F Boomerangs circled the area thoroughly on Sunday, locating the parachute and harness. Next morning two R.A.A.F. Auster scout planes took off on the search. Trim saw the AUster circling the scene of his descent about 8 a.m. on ■ Monday. By flashing a reflector mirror he attracted the pilot's attention, and a message Was dropped advising him to proceed north along the river course as Australian patrols Were looking for him. "I was pretty 'browned off' to think I had already come two and a half miles from that direction, but set off," said Trim. "I had dragged myself through silt and oozing mud for about 400 yards When the Scout plane returned. The observer leaned out and dropped another message, saying there were Japanese troops between me and the patrol, and advising me-to stay put. The Auster also dropped medical supplies, rations, a revolver, ammunition and a map shoWirtg my position. Anxiolts Waiting Tinle As night approached Trim hid in the bushes and slept. Early on Tuesday morning art Austier was over again and dropped rations: The aircraft returned several times during the day to make sure he was all right, at the same time keeping an eye out for the enemy. The Australian ground patrol was also busy. One rescue party hacked through some of the toughest couhtry on Bougainville, to reach a point about 200 yards from Trim, who passed the third night with Japanese patrols on three sides of him. On Wednesday morning Trim heard voices calling, but cautiously laid low in case they were Japanese. A minute or two later Australian soldiers emerged from a thicket, and Trim, revolver in hand, came out of hiding to greet his rescuers. The men of the patrol were dead weary, and almost out of supplies, but as the Auster had kept Trim well supplied with food he Was iable to feed the entire patrol. The j party then returned to an Australian front-line headquarters Where 1 arrangements were made to return 1 the pilot to his base at Piva airstrip.
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JUNGLE RESCUE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 165, 14 July 1945
JUNGLE RESCUE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 165, 14 July 1945
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