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Francis George Keefe

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Francis George AWMM
  • Surname
    Keefe AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ417066 AWMM
    • WWII 417066 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    23 July 1916 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Air Force AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ417066 AWMM
    • WWII 417066 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    POW - Naga Naga, south of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea AWMM
    Rabaul, New Britain AWMM
    Captured AWMM
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed or died while a Prisoner of War, Cause of Death AWMM
    Died of blood poisoning whilst a POW AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Brother of William John Francis Keefe (1913-1993) whom family recount also served in the RNZAF

      Anyone interested in further information on Francis Keefe could contact Armoury staff.

      Papers relating to war service in the Pacific, 1944 - 1945 are held by the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. AWMM
    • RNZAF Flight Lieutenant Francis George Keefe was flying a Corsair - with 14 Squadron - when his Corsair was hit by Japanese anti aircraft fire. Injured in his arm - Flt Lt Keefe managed to bale out of his stricken aircraft and landed in a lagoon - which was surrounded by thousands of Japanese. The RNZAF launched a rescue mission - and bamboo life rafts were dropped to the airman. Flt Lt Keefe was captured by the Japanese and died two weeks later of blood poisoning. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 11 October 2019 - Reference : (England)
    • CORSAIR F4U-ID : Serial # NZ5413
      Pilot Fl Lt Francis George Keefe, 417066 (POW died January 30, 1945, BR)
      Crashed January 15, 1945
      Aircraft History
      Built by Vought. Constructors number 6025. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1D Corsair bureau number 57202. As part of lend-lease, shipped aboard USS Grand Mesa departing the United Sates on July 24 1944 bound for the South Pacific as part of defence aid.

      Wartime History
      Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as F4U Corsair serial number NZ5413. On August 11, 1944 assembled by Unit 60 on Espiritu Santo. Assigned to 23 Squadron on October 9, 1944. Next, assigned to 20 Squadron October 26, 1944. Finally, assigned to 14 Squadron by January 1945. No known nickname or nose art.

      Mission History
      On January 15, 1945 took off from Green Island Airfield (Nissan) piloted by Flight Lieutenant Francis G. Keefe as one of thirty-six Corsairs from 14 Squadron, 16 Squadron and 24 Squadron on a mission against Rabaul. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire and bailed out over Simpson Harbor. After landing in the water, Keefe managed to deployed his life raft.

      Fate of the Pilot
      In an attempt to rescue the downed pilot, U. S. Navy (USN) PBY-5A Catalina piloted by Leland E. Dobberstein from VP-44 attempted to land unsuccessfully. Afterwards, Keefe was captured by the Japanese and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and died fifteen days later.

      Keefe was officially declared dead on January 30, 1945. After his remains were recovered, Keefe was permanently buried at the Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery (Bourail War Cemetery) at grave 8. 14.

      Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1D Corsair 57092
      "57202 (MSN 6025) to New Zealand as NZ5413"
      ADF Serials NZ Serials - F4U Corsair NZ5413
      CWGC - Francis George Keefe
      The Siege of Rabaul by Henry Sakaida Chapter 17 A Black Day for the Kiwis pages 69-72

      © Pacific Wrecks - F4U-1D Corsair Serial Number NZ5413
      Source: Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 11 October 2019 - Reference : Pacific
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About death

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  • Death
    30 January 1945 AWMM
    Age 28 AWMM
    Pacific AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery, New Caledonia AWMM 8.14 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM
    • Memorial stone, Museum of Transport & Technology (MOTAT), Auckland, New Zealand AWMM

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Adams, Gordon. Papers relating to war service in the Pacific, 1944 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-2002/155. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • New Zealand Fighter Pilots Association Journal AWMM
      January 15th 1945: the RNZAF's Blackest day. In New Zealand Fighter Pilots Association Journal. March 1999, No. 24, p. 5-11 AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
11 October 2019JeniferWairarapa, New ZealandResearcher
15 April 2017Paul ThomasAustraliaDirect descendant

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