G-MSTG - Janie
Major William "Bill" Price
353rd Fighter Group
350th Fighter Squadron
|Back to Survivor list
45-11518 was constructed at the NAA plant in Dallas, Texas with serial number 124-48271 and was delivered to the United States Army Air Force on July 16th , 1945.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force originally placed an order with NAA for 370 P-51D, intended to replace its F-4U1 Corsairs. By the end of the war, 30 airframes were delivered and the remainder of the order was cancelled. Those 30 airframes were shipped from the US on the “Dominion Park” and arrived in New Zealand at the Aircraft Assembly Depot Hobsonville on August 27th , 1945.
45-11518 was one of those 30 airframes and was given serial NZ2427 upon arrival.
Following the end of WWII, the RNZAF downsized their combat fleet. As a result, the 30 Mustang airframes remained in storage. They were moved from Hobsonville to Ardmore Aerodrome by road and by barge in February of 1947, where they remained in storage until early 1952.
The New Zealand Government decided that, in order to maintain pilots' flying skills, an Air Force Reserve (known as the Territorial Air Force or TAF in New Zealand) needed to be established to supplement the post-war RNZAF.
In 1948, four TAF Squadrons were formed:
- No. 1 Squadron (Auckland)
- No. 2 Squadron (Wellington
- No. 3 Squadron (Canterbury)
- No. 4 Squadron (Otago)
These TAF Squadrons were initially equipped with Tiger Moths and Harvards.
In late 1951, early 1952, the TAF received a significant upgrade when it was re-equipped with P-51 Mustangs.
NZ2427 was assembled and flown to be stored at No. 1 Repair Depot in Rukuhia in August of 1952. On October 17th of that year she began her short service with No. 3 Squadron (Canterbury), where she remained in service until August 9th , 1955.
The withdrawal fo the Mustangs was announced in May of 1955. Officially withdrawn because of “undercarriage problems”, although the most frequently used Mustang in TAF service only had 480 hours.
Six Mustangs had crashed in the eight months prior to the announcement, mostly due to the low amount of hours flown and a lack of experience on the type.
Of the 30 P-51s sent to New Zealand, a total of 10 had been destroyed or written off in accidents. Two had become in-structional airframes (NZ2401 and NZ2405), one had been damaged prior to assembly and was reduced to spares without ever being used. Four aircraft continued to be used as drogue-tugs until 1957.
The remainder were flown into storage at Woodbourne (NZ2427 being one of them).
In 1958, the remaining 17 aircraft were sold for scrap. Today, only 4 airframes of the original 30 send to New Zealand have survived, of which 2 are restored or helped in the restoration of currently airworthy airframes:
At the time of here retirement by the RNZAF, NZ2427 had approximately 403:55 hours.
By NZ Government tender No. 5296, NZ2427 was sold to Barry North and Peter Coleman, Blenheim for just £80 pounds in May of 1958. Here, she would stay for nearly 32 years.
The Mustang had its wings torched off prior to being sold, so a replacement mainplane was acquired and she was restored to taxiable condition at Omaka aerodrome. Peter Coleman bought out Barry North's share in the aircraft in 1973 and moved her to his Benmorven Road home. It's last home in New Zealand was a garage in Blenheim, where she was partially dismantled.
After his death in 1990, what remained of the airframe was sold to the Alpine Fighter Collection (Sir Tim Wallis, Wanaka, NZ) with the intention of restoring her to airworthy condition.
After the purchase of another Mustang airframe (ZK-PLI) however, the project was abandoned and 45-11518 was once again put into storage.
The Mustang's rescue finally came on September 2nd , 1997, in the form of Maurice Hammond, Eye, Suffolk, United Kingdom, who restored her back to airworthy condition.
Maurice acquired the Mustang airframe as part of a deal that included a partially restored Hurricane (BW881).
The Mustang was shipped to the UK and reregistered as G-MSTG. After a 4 year restoration period, she made her first post-restoration flight on July 13th , 2001, painted in the colors of Major William Price's 44-14419/LH-F/Janie.
Here is some of the restoration work that went into 45-11518:
The fuselage, tail unit and elevators were fully dismantled, assessed for condition, paint protected and re-assembled
The rudder was missing at the time of purchase, so a substitute P-51D rudder was supplied by Charleston Aviation
The port and starboard longerons were replaced with newly manufactured ones
The canopy was replaced with a high grade Perspex moulding supplied by Evans Plastics of California, USA
Some of the flat skins of the fuselage were also replaced
The chin cowl was missing so an original one was supplied by Odegaard Aviation. The remaining cowlings were overhauled and refitted
The wings were fully dismantled and assessed for condition. Some damaged ribs were replaced.
A zero-timed former Phillipines Air Force Packard Merlin V-1650-7 was fitted, which is identical to the one that was originally fitted to the aircraft and used in service.
A Hamilton Standard type 24D50 four-bladed propeller was installed
The gun bays were restored with replica guns and ammo
Electrical and hydraulic systems were checked and revised
A K-14 gunsight is installed
An AN/APS-13 Tail Warning Radar is installed
As with many P-51D Mustang restoration projects, the fuselage fuel tank was removed in favour of a back seat.
During the weekend of August 20th , 2005, Major “Bill” Price came over from the US to meet up with Maurice Hammond and “Janie”. He also signed his name on the Mustang.
Today, the aircraft is still operated by Maurice Hammond and is based at Hardwick, in Norfolk, UK.
Janie & Marinell taxying at North Weald, 25th April 2010
Marinell & Janie, starting up and taking off from Hardwick Airfield
At Old Warden
|Constructed at NAA Dallas, Texas and delivered to the USAAF on July 16th
Shipped to New Zealand on August 27th to serve with the RNZAF, but put away for storage instead
Assembled to serve with the New Zealand Territorial Air Force in August
Short service with No. 3 Squadron starting October 17th
Stored again in May in Woodbourne
Sold to Barry North and Peter Coleman, Blenheim, New Zealand for £80 in May
Stored partially dismantled in a garage in Blenheim
Sold to Alpine Fighter Collection, Sir Tim Wallace, Wanaka, New Zealand
Acquired by Maurice Hammond, Eye, Suffolk, UK on September 2nd , 1997. Restored as Major William “Bill” Price's 350th FS, 353rd FG 44-14419/LH-F/”Janie”
First post-restoration flight on July 13th
P-51D-30-NT 45-11518 is painted in the colors of Major William Price's personal Mustang “Janie”, whilst flying with the 353rd FG, 350th FS. The 353rd FG, also known as “Bill's Buzz Boys” or “The Slybird Group” were stationed at Raydon, Suffolk, UK during the period in which they operated P-51s. They converted to the P-51 Mustang in late September of 1944.
Interesting in noting is that none of the combat insignia adopted by the three 353rd FGs squadrons were officially approved by the AAF. This was not unique but it is somewhat unusual given the 353rd FGs early deployment to England.
The real Janie, P-51D-10-NA 44-14419 wore construction number 109-28052 and departed the US on August 26th, 1944. She became Janie on September 7th, 1944, when she was assigned to William J. Price. Price finished his tour on December 12th, 1944, and subsequently the Mustang was assigned to another pilot, Lt. George W. Robison, who renamed her "Marilyn". Robinson crash-landed the P-51 on December 25th, 1944, in the vicinity of Brussels, due to engine failure.
All of Major Price's aircraft were named after his sister "Janie".
Major William J. Price served with the 350th FS, 353rd FG. He was an original member of the unit and prior to his departure in October 1944, completed two tours of combat, during which time he was assigned three aircraft: two Republic P-47 Thunderbolts (P-47 42-26477, P-47D 42-8623) and P-51D 44-14419.
Bill flew 108 missions and became an ace, scoring an eventual total of 7 victories. His tally comprised three Bf-109s, one He-111, one Fw-190, one Me-210 and one Me-410. Four were destroyed on the ground and three in the air.
Major Price, who later became Squadron Commander of the 350th , received several decorations, including the Air Medal and the DFC.
|Price, William J.
|Price, William J.
|Price, William J.
The paint scheme
The 353rd FG was assigned to the 8th AF on July 6th, 1943, and was last stationed at Raydon, Suffolk. They were one of the last groups to convert to the P-51 Mustang in late September of 1944.
Group markings of the 353rd FG included spinners divided into 4 equal-width encircling bands of black, yellow, black and yellow. The 12-inch band directly aft of the spinner consisted of 3 rows of 6-inch black and yellow checkers.
Shortly after their delivery a number of the Groups Mustangs received a disruptive camouflage pattern of dark green paint, possibly in anticipation of redeployment or partial deployment to forward Allied air bases located on the European Continent.
Because there was some confusion between the nose markings of the 353rd FG and the 55th FG, the cowling pattern of the 353rd FG was increased by an additional 5 rows of checkers, thus extending the marker back to a point near the end of the exhaust cut-out. This final cowling pattern modification was affected in December of 1944.
Profile © Nick King
In October of 1944 squadron identification colours were introduced by the 8th AF by means of coloured rudders. The 350th FS was assigned Identification Yellow, the 351st FS had no colour and the 352nd FS had black. At the same time, the QIM-markings (Quick Identification Markers) were ordered removed from the tail sections. When applying paint to the rudders, 350th FS personnel sometimes elected to use a “block-masking” technique, however, as often as not they would first paint the entire rudder, then reapply the last three numerals of the serial number over the solid Identification Yellow background.
Squadron code letters were “LH” for the 350th FS, “YL” for the 351st FS and “SX” for the 352nd FS.
The National Insignia used is according to AN-I-9b specifications. This insignia type was created on August 14th , 1943, and was to be positioned o n both sides of the fuselage, one on top of the left wing and one on the bottom of the right wing
As the Group converted to P-51s in late September, the Invastion Stripes were allready ordered removed from the top of the wings and fuselage as per SHAEF order on August 1st, 1944.
For more information on the following general P-51 markings, please click their appropriate links:
US National Insignia markings
General P-51 markings
If we were to put a timeframe on G-MSTG we could assume that it was situated somewhere between September and December of 1944, given certain parameters:
- the cowling pattern of the 353rd FG was increased by an additional 5 rows of checkers in December of 1944. As 45-11518 carries only 3 rows of checkers and the Group only converted to P-51s in Late September, the paint scheme is situated somewhere between September and December of 1944.
- D-Day or Invasion Stripes were ordered removed from the top of the wings and fuselage starting August 1st, 1944. The complete removal wasn't ordered until December 6th of 1944, effective December 31st of that same year.
There seem to be some irregularities with Janie's paint scheme however: the yellow outline on the code letters seems a bit odd on this restoration project because the 350th FS only seems to have adopted this practice starting in January of 1945. Also, the kill markings beneath the cockpit on the port side do not seem to be exactly in line with what the wartime picture of 44-14419 at around the same period depicts.
Pictures of G-MSTG Janie
Walkaround pictures of G-MSTG Janie
Contributor pictures of G-MSTG Janie
Contributor image copyright (left to right, top to bottom):
2, 5, 8, 9
10, 23, 24
25 - 27
28 - 32
33 - 37
|© John Powell
© Gareth Horne
© John Allan
© Simon Thomas
© Stephen Fox
© Geoff - GJC1
© Stephen Blee
© Neil Pulling
© Tony Strother
© Rob Feeley
© Paul Stevenson
© Gary Stedman
© Rinze De Vries
© Huw Hopkins
© Phillip Treweek
© Stephen Blee
© Jarrod Cotter for Warbird Depot
© Doug Fisher for Warbird Depot
Pictures of the original "Janie"
If you have any high-quality photographs of G-MSTG you would like to share on this website, please contact us.