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  PBY-5 Catalina Serial Number A24-15  
11 Squadron

Former Assignments
Qantas Empire Airways

Pilot  FLGOFF Lincoln James Sloan, 2622 (KIA, BR) St. Lucia, QLD
2nd Pilot  FLTLT Nelson Prior Reid, 557 (KIA, BR) Sherwood, QLD
1st Engineer  CPL Neville L. Ernst, 12305 (KIA, BR) Rose Bay, NSW
2nd Engineer  LAC Charles K. Matheson (KIA, BR) Eldorado, VIC
1st Wireless  AC1 Keith M. Sidey, 34551 (KIA, BR) Bathurst, NSW
2nd Wireless  AC1 Arthur W. Magee, 33987 (KIA, BR) Bondi. NSW
Armorer  AC1 George Peterson, 39219 (KIA, BR) Nailsworth, SA
Rigger  CPL Eric J. O’Donnell, 12257 (KIA, BR) Leonara, WA

Crashed  December 8, 1941 at 10:11pm

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Constructors Number 322. Purchased by Qantas Empire Airways (QEA). On October 7, 1941 registered in Australia as VH-AFP.

Wartime History
During World War II, pressed into service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Catalina A24-15 and assigned to 11 Squadron operating from Fairfax Harbor off Port Moresby. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines Pratt & Whitney SC13G serial numbers: 7798 (starboard) and 7797 (port).

Mission History
On December 8, 1941 taxied out at 10:05pm from Fairfax Harbor along a flare path armed with 4 x 250 pound G.P. bombs and 4 x 250 pound A. S. bombs. At 10:09, the control boat gave the signal to taxi, instead this Catalina took off through the flare path and climbed to 100' then veered to the right and crashed into a the eastern side of Gemo Island (Hanudamua Island) near the center of the island. The left wingtip impacted first, causing the aircraft to nose in and burn on impact.

Recovery of Remains
Immediately after the crash, a medical officer and party from the station proceeded to the crash site, but nothing could be done until the fire subsided and the remains of eight of the crew were recovered from inside the aircraft.

After the crash, the rudder trim was observed to have a 3°  left bias and likely cause the crash. The crash was deemed to be caused by pilot error. The entire aircraft was written off as destroyed. On January 9, 1942 the Catalina was approved for conversion to parts. Today, nothing is left at the crash site aside from some molten aluminum and small pieces of wreckage.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains the entire crew was buried at Bomana War Cemetery. Sloan at B2. D. 5, Reid at B2. C. 25. Ernst at B2. C. 15. Matheson B2. C. 13. Sidey at B2. C. 18. Magee at B2. C. 19. Peterson at B2. C. 10. O’Donnell at B2. D. 1.

Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information.
ADF Serials - Catalina A24-15
CWGC - Lincoln James Sloan
CWGC - Nelson Prior Reid
CWGC - Neville Lawrence Ernst
CWGC - Charles K. Matheson
CWGC - Keith Mighell Sidey
CWGC - Arthur Wallace Magee
CWGC - George Peterson
CWGC - Eric J. O’Donnell
RAAFDB - PBY Catalina A24-15

NAA "North Eastern Area Headquarters - Court of Inquiry - Catalina aircraft A24/15 - Port Moresby - 8/12/1941" A11083 / 906/34/P1/ 3080324
Thanks to Daniel Leahy, John Douglas, Keith Hopper and Tony Gridley for additional information

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Last Updated
September 25, 2018


Technical InfoPBY

Technical Info
Dec 8, 1941

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