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  Junkers F 13ke "Papua" Serial Number 2074 Registration Number VH-UTS
Lutheran Mission

Prewar circa 1937-1939

Prewar circa 1937-1939

Aircraft History
Built by Junkers, serial number J2074. Sold to Personal Flying Services and registered in the United Kingdom as G-ABDC in July 1930. In April 1933 sold to Brooklands Airways. In December 1934 sold to Neuendettelsauer Missions Gesellschaft and registered in Sweden as SE-AEC.

Afterwards, sold to the Lutheran Mission and disassembled and shipped overseas to New Guinea. On March 7, 1935 registered in Australia as VH-UTS. Nicknamed "Papua".

This aircraft had a natural metal finish with VH-UTS painted in large black block letters on both sides of the fuselage. The nose was painted black with "Papua" painted in white lettering. This Junkers F.13 operated in New Guinea flying cargo and passengers to German mission stations and airfields.

Sometime between March 1935 September 1939, this aircraft suffered a landing accident at a New Guinea airfield that damaged the left landing gear. Afterwards, repaired and returned to flying status.

Wartime History
During August 1939 took off from Malahang Airfield near Lae piloted by Werner Garms and Paul Raabe on a flight bound for Mount Hagen Airfield for a delivery to the Lutheran mission station at Ogelgeng. While on the ground, they accepted mail from Patrol Officer (kiap) Leigh Vial who was based at Mount Hagen and possibly letters from others.

Both pilots were German nationals and sometime after learning learning of the start of World War II in Europe on September 1, 1939 the pair decided to steal this aircraft make their way back to Germany to join the military. Departing Mount Hagen Airfield they flew to the southeast landing at Kiapit Airfield and refueled from fuel stocks owned by the Lutheran mission.

On September 5, 1939 this aircraft was observed near Lae before landing at Edie Creek Airfield near the Wau-Bulolo gold fields where they delivered the air mail letter from Leigh Vial and likely refueled to top off their fuel tanks. Taking off again, the pair continued flying to the southwest over Papua and landed at Merauke Airfield in Dutch New Guinea (Papua Province).

After landing, the pilots abandoned the aircraft near the runway. The ultimate fate of this F.13 is unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Fates of the Crew
After landing at Merauke, Garms and Raabe made their across Dutch New Guinea then traveled aboard a steamer northward to Japan then to the Soviet Union (Russia) where they traveled aboard the Trans Siberian railway from the Far East westward back to Germany where both enlisted in the Luftwaffe (German Air Force).

Werner Garms became an officer with the rank of Oberleutnant. On March 1, 1942 he went Missing In Action (MIA) aboard Ju 88 A-4 (9K+DS) assigned to 10./KG 51 on a mission in the Crimea area.

Paul Raabe military history is unknown, possibly he was an enlisted man in the Luftwaffe or other branch of service. He is not an officer in the Luftwaffe officer listed in Luftwaffe Officer’s Career Summary.

Junkers F13 Serial Numbers
Wings of Gold - How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea page 222
Luftwaffe Officer’s Career Summary / Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries Section G-K [PDF page 13]
"GARMS, Werner. 01.03.42 Oblt., 10./KG 51 MIA?/KIA - Ju 88 A-4 (9K+DS) in Russia, cause unknown"
Papua New Guinea Postal Stamp 30 toea "Mission Aviation, Lutheran 1935 depicts F 13 SE-AEC in flight
Thanks to John Douglas, International Historical Research Associates and Robert Piper for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018


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