Original U.S. WWII Boeing PT-17 Stearman Wood Prop Named to Navy Flight Surgeon - Battle of Midway

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a beautiful, Pre World War Two manufactured unrestored, vintage, original, Sensenich Brosthers Boeing PT-17 Stearman airplane wooden propeller that measures approximately 98 inches long. The prop is beautifully named in elegant painting as follows:


Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Forrester, from Toledo Ohio, served in the United States Navy, serial number 84715. He served before and during World War Two and was attached to the Marine Corps throughout the Battle of Midway. On May 25th, 1944 he was assigned to Marine Bombing Squadron VMB-413 as Flight Surgeon.

Marine Bombing Squadron 413 (VMF-413) was the Marine Corps' first medium bomber squadron and fought during World War II. Best known as “Night Hecklers” and the “Shamrocks”, the squadron fought in many areas of the Pacific War.

The squadron arrived at Espiritu Santo on January 27, 1944, and remained there until March 7, 1944, when they were sent to Stirling Island in the Treasury Islands. While stationed there the squadron flew a few night-time heckling missions against the Japanese garrisons at Kahili, Bougainville and Rabaul until July 1944 when they moved back to Espiritu Santo. During that time the squadron lost five aircraft along with 32 crewman. In July 1944, VMB-413 began operating from Munda from where they began to raid both Kahili and Choiseul on a regular basis until October 18, 1944 when they moved to Emirau. From there they ran missions against Japanese forces in New Ireland and New Britain until the surrender of Japan in August 1945.

This wonderful wooden propellor was given to Dr. Forrester in appreciation for his service. Decals on the blade read "Sensenich Bros., SB, Lititz, PA". The prop measures approximate 98 inches tip to tip. The hub is 6" wide and 9" tall. There are 8 mounting holes, with center to center measurement of 7". The center hole of the hub is 3-7/8" across. The prop is nicely marked:

R-670-5 ENGINE
220 HP
2100 RPM
PART NO. 42K19593
SER NO. 53404

Stamped SENSENICH along with two fantastic Sensenich Brother SB wing decals. Overall condition of the propeller is excellent. Weight is approximately 28 lbs. Also included with purchase is a binder with lots of research on Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Forrester which include copies of new articles and war time documents.

The Stearman Boeing Model 75 is a biplane formerly used as a military trainer aircraft, of which at least 10,626 were built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. Stearman Aircraft became a subsidiary of Boeing in 1934. Widely known as the Stearman, Boeing Stearman or Kaydet, it served as a primary trainer for the United States Army Air Forces, the United States Navy (as the NS and N2S), and with the Royal Canadian Air Force as the Kaydet throughout World War II. After the conflict was over, thousands of surplus aircraft were sold on the civilian market. In the immediate postwar years they became popular as crop dusters, sports planes, and for aerobatic and wing walking use in air shows.

Design and development
The Kaydet was a conventional biplane of rugged construction with a large, fixed tailwheel undercarriage, and accommodation for the student and instructor in open cockpits in tandem. The radial engine was usually uncowled, although some Stearman operators choose to cowl the engine, most notably the Red Baron Stearman Squadron.

After World War II, thousands of surplus PT-17s were auctioned off to civilians and former military pilots. Many were modified for cropdusting use, with a hopper for pesticide or fertilizer fitted in place of the front cockpit. Additional equipment included pumps, spray bars, and nozzles mounted below the lower wings. A popular approved modification to increase the maximum takeoff weight and climb performance involved fitting a larger Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine and a constant-speed propeller.

In popular culture
An iconic movie image is a Stearman cropduster chasing Cary Grant across a field in North by Northwest (the airplane that chased Grant was actually a Naval Aircraft Factory N3N Canary; the plane that hits the truck is a Stearman). Christopher Reeve and Scott Wilson are shown flying 1936 variants in the 1985 movie The Aviator.
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