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  Ford 5-AT-C Trimotor Serial Number A45-1  
USAAF
33 Squadron

Former assignments
Guinea Airways
24 Squadron
1 AD
36 Squadron

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Justin Taylan 2000
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Daniel Leahy 2005

Aircraft History
Owned by the Earl of Lovelace and registered as G-ABHO and flown in East Africa. Later registered as NC401H.

Sold to Guinea Airways in New Guinea, and registered VH-UBI on October 26, 1935. Operated in civilian service in New Guinea until February 1942.

Wartime History
Impressed into RAAF service on February 6, 1942 as A-45-1 along with Trimotor A-45-2 (VH-UDY). Assigned to 24 Squadron.

Returned to Guinea AIrways for an overhaul on March 17, 1942 and converted into an air ambulance on July 24, 1942 and pressed into service evacuating troops during the fighting on the Kokoda Trail.

Next assigned to 1 AD on October 11, 1942 then assigned to 36 Squadron October 31, 1942 and 33 Squadron on November 16, 1942.

Mission History
On November 24, 1942, the trimotor slipped on muddy ground and flipped over, crashing at Myola Lake.

After the crash, it was assigned to 15 RSU on November 30, 1942 and converted to components on February 17, 1943.

Wreckage
Wreckage remained were it was abandoned until 1979.

Recovery
The fuselage was recovered by the RAAF in 1979, and the wings during the following year and brought to the PNG Museum at Port Moresby.

Bruce Hoy recalls:
"[The recovery to the US] was only an idea of Bill Chapman at the time of the AMPNG - and Yesterday's Air Force collaborations in 1974. It never got past the thought stage. Almost came to a full stop in 1979 though due to misunderstanding of the local people when the RAAF dropped in to have a look at it first. The RAAF saw all these folk with shotguns, and they pissed off! I tried to re-assure them that that was normal with any village hunting party. Cost us a helicopter charter and then a flight across to Kokoda to sort things out."

Display
Today, this wreck is on display at the PNG War Museum in Port Moresby.. The plane's wings are removed, and stored separately. Despite this plane's age and long history, it is in exceptional condition.

References
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for RAAF information and registration codes.
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 61 (lower), 69

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

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