Built by Ford. Purchased by the Earl of Lovelace and registered as G-ABHO and flown in East Africa. Later registered in the United States as NC401H. Next, sold
to Guinea Airways in New Guinea. On
October 26, 1935 registered in Australia as VH-UBI and operated in civilian service until early February 1942.
On February 6, 1942 impressed into service by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Trimotor serial number A-45-1 (VH-UBI). Also pressed into service was Trimotor A-45-2 (VH-UDY). Assigned to 24 Squadron.
On March 17, 1942 returned to Guinea Airways for an overhaul and converted into an air ambulance by July 24, 1942 and pressed into service evacuating wounded soldiers during the the fighting on the Kokoda
On October 11, 1942 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On October 31, 1942 assigned to 36 Squadron. Finally on November 16, 1942 to 33 Squadron.
On November 24, 1942 the trimotor slipped
on muddy ground and flipped over crashing at Myola
Lake. On November 30, 1942 assigned to 15 Repair Salvage Unit (15 RSU) and converted to components by February 17, 1943.
The trimotor remained in situ upside down until 1979.
In 1979, the fuselage was recovered by the RAAF and brought to the PNG
War Museum at Port
Moresby. In 1980, the wings were also recovered and transported to the museum.
Bruce Hoy recalls:
"[The recovery to the US] was only an idea of Bill
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."
Between 1979–2015, the trimotor was displayed in the yard of the PNG
War Museum in Gordons with the wings removed and stored separately. Since 2015, displayed at the outdoors on the driveway to the National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG).
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 61 (lower), 69
Thanks to Bill
Chapman, Bruce Hoy and Daniel Leahy for additional information.
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October 20, 2018