Built by Junkers during 1926, serial number J3000. Registered in German as D-1073, first flight on September 26, 1929.
One of four Junkers G 31's purchased by Bulolo Gold Dredging Company (BGD), and operated by Guinea Airways. Registered as VH-URQ on June 9, 1934. Based at Lae Airfield, used to ferry dredge parts and equipment from Lae Airfield to Wau Airfield and Bulolo Airfield.
Operated with Pratt and Whitney A2 Hornets, nine cylinder radial air-cooled direct drive engines of 525 hp. These engines were hand cranked via an inertia starter which was a series of geared cogs turning a flywheel.
On January 21, 1942 this trimotor took off from Lae Airfield piloted by Bertie Heath and co-pilot Malcolm Goad with a cargo of three tons of Fosters beer aboard and landed at Bulolo Airfield at roughly 12:25pm. After exiting the plane, five A6M2 Zeros from Shōkaku (piloted by WO Abe Yasujirō, PO3c Tanaka Yoshifuji, Sea1c Horiguchi Shunji, PO1c Hayashi Fujo, Sea1c Komachi Sadamu) strafe the area for fifteen minutes, destroying this trimotor, plus G 31 "Bulolo I Paul" VH-UOU and G 31 "Bulolo 2 Peter" VH-UOV also parked at the airfield.
The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles NGVR 1939-1943 by Ian Down:
Buster H. Mills NGVR recalled: "By this time, our effect and of course the three burning cargo planes no longer needed our protection.... As for the beer from Heath's plane, the top layers had burst from the heat of the burning Junker but a good supply of refreshment was still useable from the bottom [...]".
Wreckage remained at the airfield postwar. Afterwards, scrapped or otherwise removed.
Junkers Production Details
The Battle For Wau page 2
Thanks to Phil Bradley, Bruce Hoy and Luke Ruffato for additional information
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January 9, 2018