Saga of Catalina A24-30, nee PatWing 10 #46.

A compilation by Wynnum B Graham.

Special Note: -- There is no recorded "official" identity of the above mentioned plane. Each reader, then, is invited to interpret the following from individual points of view.

On 28Feb42, a rebuilt Catalina emerged from the maintenance hangar at Morokrembangan, Soerabaya, in Java, Netherlands East Indies. It had been rebuilt by adding the wing and engines of USN PBY-5 Catalina Bu No 2305 to the fuselage and empennage of Dutch 28-5MN Catalina Y-72.

From 01Mar42 to Jul42 the rebuilt or hybrid Catalina flew in Western Australia with USN Patrol Wing 10 [and its subordinate units] as #46 [also reported as #12] and later as (renumbered to) #14. With the USN it had a very reliable service record during many flights. There is no record the USN tried to establish a more formal identity for this plane. One must remember this plane was a rebuild, and came into being 28Feb42 in Java, an enormously hectic period of war, death and destruction.

From Jul42 it was taken into RAAF service as A24-30 and did standard RAAF operational and training duty until war end; finally was sold in Oct46 to Kingsford Smith Aviation Services.

Some history of USN Catalina PBY-5 Bu 2305

09Jan41 - New plane, assigned to VP-52, for work out of Norfolk, Quonset, and later, Argentia, Newfoundland - North Atlantic patrols.
16Jun41 - Re-assigned to VP-43, from VP-52 which was re-equipping with later production, higher modification status, planes
01Jul41 - VP-43 renumbered to VP-81
25Aug41 - Assigned to the newly formed VP-51; working out of Norfolk and Bermuda.
11Dec41 - Depart Norfolk, reach Alameda [Asan Francisco area] 15Dec41
20Dec41 - Depart Alameda, over-night to Kanaohe, Hawaii.
01Jan42 - Now at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, as 22-P-12. (all VP-51 planes were transfered to VP-22)
02Jan42 - Depart Hawaii, via Palmyra, Canton, Fiji, Townsville, Darwin, to reach Netherlands East Indies area about 11Jan42, PPC Ens G Howard. [PPC = Patrol Plane Commander]
06Feb42 - The last recorded flight for Bu 2305 [in War Diary, Commander Aircraft Asiatic Fleet] when it flew to scatter anchorage for the day and returned to Sourabaya that evening.
22Feb42 - Being broken up for spare parts on ramp at Morokrembangan, Sourabaya, Java. Source - Messimer "In the Hands Of Fate" interview with Lt Antonides, Engineer Officer with Patrol Wing 10.

Bu 2305 ceased to be a flyable or repairable entity when the break-up for parts began about 22Feb42. In the latter days of its life it had two [with-in unit] identities 22-P-12 and PatWing 10 #12.
Its wing and engines were fitted to the fuselage of Dutch Plane Y-72.


Some history of MLD Catalina 28-5MN Y-72

08Dec41 – New plane at San Diego
Dec41 – Ferry to NEI. Details not known.
08Jan42 – At Morokrembangan, Soerabaya, Java.
05Feb42 – Shot/forced down near Waroe, south of Soerabaya.
It appears the damage was to the wings and engines. How it returned to Morokrembangan is unclear.
This plane was repaired by having the wing and engines of Bu 2305 fitted.

The plane which emerged from the Morokrembangan hangar, 28Feb42.
When the hybrid [not Bu 2305] first flew, depart Sourabaya 0530 hrs 01Mar42 PPC Lt (jg) Campbell, bound to USS Childs at Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia, it was recorded by Commander Aircraft Asiatic Fleet as "Plane #12".  When it departed USS Childs at Exmouth Gulf PPC Lt (jg) Campbell at 2000 hrs 01Mar42 [same day, guts men, those were] bound to Tjilitjap, Java, it was recorded by Commander Aircraft Asiatic Fleet as "Plane #12".  When it returned from Tjilitjap, reaching USS Childs at Exmouth Gulf at 1530 hrs 02Mar42 it was recorded then and consistently thereafter as #46 by Commander Aircraft Asiatic Fleet. Perhaps that was the start of much confusion from that time onward !!

Further history of the hybrid #46 belongs in a place separate from the now defunct Bu 2305 .
If one wishes to be pernickety, split hairs, etc, one might suggest the majority part of the hybrid which emerged from the hangar was Dutch plane Y-72; but that is a futile exercise !!

Some history of Catalina known as Patrol Wing 10 #46.
Extracts from War Diary, Commander Aircraft Asiatic Fleet ---
1Mar42 Plane 12, Lt jg Campbell, 0530 departs Sourabaya for Childs at Exmouth Gulf. and ---

2000 hrs, #12, Lt jg Campbell, departs Childs for Tjilitjap.

2Mar42 At Tjilitjap before dawn;

2Mar42 1430 hrs, #46, arrived Childs at Exmouth Gulf.

2Mar42 2300 hrs, #46, Lt Keller, depart Childs at Exmouth Gulf, for Fremantle.

3Mar42 1600 hrs, #46, returns from Fremantle to Childs at Exmouth Gulf.

4Mar42 #46, Lt jg Campbell, depart on patrol. and -------

#46, Lt jg Hoffman, remains overnight at Exmouth Bay [sic]. [Childs is on way to Shark Bay.]

5Mar42 #46, Lt jg Hoffman, took off on patrol, return to Shark Bay.

6Mar42 #46, Lt Hyland, depart on patrol, return to Fremantle.
7Mar42 Commander Patrol Wing 10 based at Perth, Western Australia.
Patrol Squadrons 101, 102, and 22 operating as a unit from Pelican Point. Lt . . Commander Donaho assumed command of Patrol Squadron Unit. Total of seven planes: . 3 PBY’s, #5, #7, and #46. Two OS2U-2 and two SOC-1.

7Mar42 Lt jg Deede, depart on patrol, to return to Childs.

8Mar42 #46Lt jg Deede, arrive Geraldton, from Fremantle.

9Mar42 #46, Lt jg Deede, depart Geraldton on patrol, return to Perth.

10Mar42 #46, Ens Thanos, depart on patrol. [Sector patrol to NorthWest.]

12Mar42 #46 Ens Gough, depart on patrol.

14Mar42 Plane #46, Lt Drake, departed on patrol. and-------

Plane 12 reported: Thorough search Shark Bay, and vicinity
Thorough search of War Diary shows the two identities used on the one-and-same day are one and the same plane! Watch the #12 identity come into vogue!.

15Mar42 Plane #46, Lt Hyland, departed on patrol.

16Mar42 #46, Lt jg Pollock, departed on patrol.

17Mar42 #12, Lt jg Burgess, departed on patrol.

18Mar42 #12, Lt jg Lefever, departed on NW patrol.

19Mar42 #12, Lt jg Brown, departed on patrol at 0730.

21Mar42 #12, Lt jg Pollock, departed on patrol.

23Mar42 #12, Lt Drake, departed on special patrol.

24Mar42 #12, Lt Hyland, departed on patrol.

26Mar42 #12, Lt jg Brown, departed on patrol.

30Mar42 #12, Lt jg Hardy, departed on routine patrol.

<WBG> has no further parts of the War Diary. At this point, 30Mar42, Patrol Wing 10 still had only the three PBY’s earlier reported [07Mar42 entry above] - including #46 [sometimes reported as #12].

In Apr42, VP-21 arrived at Perth with 12 planes – these planes were taken over by PatWing 10 and renumbered as #1 to #12. The three older planes were renumbered once again, and #46[sometimes reported as #12] became #14.

Another complication arises in that on 05May42, Mr Larry Katz [radioman] logged a flight in Y-72. <WBG> suggests this should be no surprise – given the fuselage and equipment within originated as Y-72, evidence of that origin was likely to still exist [in the radio man’s environment] as at 05May42.

Some history of Catalina known as RAAF A24-30.
Jul42 – taken into RAAF Service
24Oct42 – on operations – from Cairns to bomb at Kavieng, New Ireland.
Feb/Mar43 – still on ops – still working out of Cairns, Queensland, to Bougainville and Kavieng etc.
Oct46 – sold by Australian Government - Commonwealth Disposals Commission - to Kingsford Smith Aviation Services.

WBG has no knowledge if this above described (the real) A24-30, has any connection with the item at Lake Boga wearing an A24-30 identity.