How tough was Geoff Fisken, the World War II fighter pilot from New Zealand who went on to become the highest scoring British Commonwealth pilot in the Pacific?

Once, following a sortie, Fisken’s mechanic fainted when he alighted from his aircraft with shrapnel protruding from his hip, according to a story by the Rotorua Review.

“I didn’t know it was there,” Fisken told the Review in 2000. ‘”It felt sore, with blood all down my leg. I tried to pull it out with a pair of pliers at the hospital but it was still too sore. They cut it out and put on some sulthalimide, strapped it up and I was able to fly again in three or four days.”

Fisken, who registered 11 kills while piloting CAC Wirraways, Brewster Buffaloes and Curtis P-40s, died over the weekend in New Zealand at age 96.

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After a decade and a half of indecision regarding the identify of a shipwreck off the North Carolina coast, state officials have determined that the vessel resting just off Fort Macon is that of Blackbeard the pirate’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

“We have now changed our position, and we are quite categorically saying that it’s the Queen Anne’s Revenge,” said Jeffrey Crow, deputy secretary for the Office of Archives and History of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, which oversees the efforts to recover and display the remains of the ship.

It took years of research and the recovery and analysis of tens of thousands of artifacts to make the confirmation, Crow told McClatchy Newspapers.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge, a 300-ton vessel, was a man-of-war built in England in 1710. Originally named the Concord, she was captured by the French in 1711 and modified to hold more cargo, including slaves, and renamed La Concorde de Nantes.

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