The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk first flew in 1938 as a modification of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk. Warhawk was the official U.S. designation while the name Tomahawk was used by the British Commonwealth and Soviet forces for the P-40B and C and Kittyhawk for P-40Ds and later variants. The P-40 was first used by British squadrons in North Africa and the Middle East in 1941. The P-40 lacked a two-speed supercharger making them inferior to German aircraft but was an adequate fighter in low altitude combat zones. Almost 12,000 P-40s were produced.
"Gloria Lyons" adorned four different New Zealand Air Force aircraft. The first three were P-40 Kittyhawks and the fourth was an F4U-1A. Gloria Lyons was a nineteen year old New Zealand girl with tuberculosis and pen pals with members of the No. 4 Servicing Unit in the Solomon Islands. The unit decided to make her their mascot and added her name to the engine cowling. The first two P-40s as well as the F4U-1A were destroyed but the third P-40N, NZ3220 survived the war. The real Gloria Lyons overcame her tuberculosis.