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  PBY-5 Catalina Bureau Number 08136 Number 14-P-8

VP-44

Pilot  LtLt. Jarloth J. “Jiggs” Lyons (survived)
Crew  AP1c Roy H. “Robbie” Robinson (survived)

Crashed  March 24, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN). During late November 1942 assigned to patrol squadron VP-44 with squadron code 14-P-8. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

Wartime History
On December 26, 1942 took off from NAS Kaneohe Bay on a flight across the Pacific flying first to Palmyra Airfield and departing the next day for Canton Airfield then to Fiji and New Caledonia before arriving at Luganville Seaplane Base.

On January 11, 1943 took off from Luganville Seaplane Base piloted by Lt. George Hanthorn on a twelve hour patrol mission.

On February 5, 1943 took off from Luganville Seaplane Base piloted by Lt. (jg). W.E. Roy on a 9 hour patrol.

On February 26, 1943 took off from Luganville Seaplane Base piloted Lt. (jg). W.E. Roy on a patrol mission over Patrol to Vanikoro.

On March 12 1943 took off from Luganville Seaplane Base piloted by Lt. George W. Hanthorn on a 10.5 hour patrol.

On March 14, 1943 took off from Luganville Seaplane Base piloted Lt. Lyons on a flight to Halavo Bay Seaplane Base to provide search and rescue duty in the Solomons.

On March 15, 1943 took off from Halavo Bay Sepalane Base piloted Lt. Lyons on a flight to Lunga Point Anchorage carrying passengers, then returned to Halavo Bay.

On March 16, 1943 took off from Halavo Bay Sepalane Base piloted Lt. Norris of VP-24 on a search mission for a life raft but no sighting was made.

On March 17, 1943 took off from Halavo Bay Sepalane Base piloted Lt. Lyons on a flight to Segi on New Georgia, likely to deliver coastwatcher Donald Kennedy.

On March 21, 1943 took off from Halavo Bay Sepalane Base piloted Lt. Lyons on a search for a B-17F Flying Fortress from the 5th Bombardment Group.a

Mission History
On March 24, 1943 took off from Halavo Bay piloted by Lt. Jarloth J. Lyons around noon on a flight bound for Luganville Seaplane Base. After take off, this Catalina climbed to 15,000'. Before departing the area, Lyons decided to dive down and buzz Halavo Bay Sepalane Base as a farewell gesture. Pulling out of the dive, as this Catalina climbed both engines suddenly cut out from water in the fuel tanks entering the carburettors during the dive. Aligning for an emergency landing, the left wing float hit the water violently causing the Catalina to cart wheel and the left wing to break off, and the rest of the aircraft to swing around causing the right wing to break off before sinking at 12:30pm into Gavutu Harbor to the south of Gavutu Island atop an unnamed coral reef. The entire crew survived the crash unhurt and exited the aircraft.

Wreckage
Soon afterwards, the crew was rescued by USS Butternut (AN-9) and the vessel salvaged the Catalina using their cranes. By the evening, the wreckage was raised and the next day, towed to shore and beached at Halavo Bay. Afterwards, the Catalina was stripped for usable parts by the crew and members of PATSU. th engines were removed and the plane was flipped upside down. Afterwards, stricken from charge.

At some point during 1944 or 1945 the remaining wreckage was towed out to sea and dumped into Gavutu Harbor. The center section settled onto the sea floor.

On November 4, 2011, the MBES survey of Gavutu Harbor by Archaehistoria / HMNZS Resolution (A14) under the command of Lt. Cdr. Matt Wray, RNZN, revealed a large sonar image of an aircraft-like target. On November 9, 2011, Ewan Stevenson and Neil Yates / Dive Tulagi inspected the site.

References
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List July 1943 PBY Catalina 08246 lists unit as VP-24
Archaehistoria "Site FLOR8. Aircraft – “The House under the Sea” : PBY-5 Catalina BuNo. 08136, Plane Side No. 44-P-8"
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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Technical InfoPBY

MIA
54.3m / 178'

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