Built by Boeing of Canada. Assigned US Navy with Bureau Number 44217. Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number JX611. Then, to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with serial number A24-206. On March 9, 1945 assigned to 43 Squadron.
On June 20, 1945 after a test flight by F/Lt F Jensen, this Catalina was moored onto a bouy in the southern anchorage at East Arm in Darwin
Harbor. While refueled and armed loaded with 250lbs depth charges. One was accidentally released, fell through the timber barge and sank to its fused depth and exploded cauaing the Catalina to sink and the other wing mounted depth charges exploded. The explosions killed LAC Walter A. Strang and LAC Richard L. Graham.
The wreck site was
identified by a process of elimination. Since there were only three
RAAF Catalinas lost in Darwin Harbor during the war, and since A24-69
is identified, this third site must be of A24-206.
Sometimes refereed to as "Catalina 3". Dive inspections
have revealed that the explosion occurred on the starboard wing. The
starboard wing was blown off and lies some sixty meters away from the
main wreck site. However, identification plates have not been located
for this aircraft, perhaps taken by divers many years ago.
Another Possible Identity?
There is a possibility that this site could be a PBY Catalina from US Navy Patrol Wing 10 (PatWing-10)
19, 1942 during the first Japanese air raid against Darwin
Harbor. However, the wreck site is unlikely to this aircraft because its location
does not fit with historical accounts of the air raid.
Three PBYs were
lost during the Darwin raid.
#4 USN PBY-4, BuNo. 1214 - ex-101-P-27, ex-102-P-27
#8 USN PBY-4, BuNo. 1233 - ex-101-P-8
#41 28-5MNE, ex-Y 41, Marineluchtvaartdienst (RNNAS)
ADF Serials A24-206
Thanks to Wynnum Graham for aircraft information
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August 15, 2015