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  PBY-5 Catalina Serial Number A24-44  
Kingsford Smith
Air Service
Former Assignments
RAAF
20 Squadron
43 Squadron
111 ASRF

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 1101. Assigned U. S. Navy bureau number 08207. Ferried overseas across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Catalina serial number A24-44. On April 19, 1943 assigned to 20 Squadron and the next day coded RB-S. On September 27, 1943 assigned to 43 Squadron coded OX-K.

On April 6, 1944 took off piloted by F/O Reginald "Reg" Marr on a mission to rescue the crew of Beaufighter A19-156 that force landed at Cartier Island south of Semaroe Island. The landing was in the open sea at dusk and took off again after dark.

On June 6, 1945 assigned to 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight (111 ASRF) and operated from Madang Seaplane Base.

On July 6, 1945, took off from Madang Seaplane Base piloted by F/Lt Clive W. Miller on a mission to locate the P-38 Lightning pilot Carter who bailed out approximately 10 miles northeast of Lake Chambri in the Sepik River area, but was unable to land to rescue him, nor was a RAAF Walrus.

On July 7, 1945 took took off from Madang Seaplane Base piloted by F/Lt Clive W. Miller and dropped supplies to P-38 Lightning pilot Carter. On the ground, Carter was able to retrieve the supplies and fell asleep from exhaustion. Meanwhile, a RAAF Walrus piloted by F/O Agnew circled him but was unable to land due to bad weather and a message was dropped to him to await another rescue the next day and instructed him to walk roughly 250 yards towards the Karawari River, but Carter was unable to reach the river.

On July 8, 1945 took took off from Madang Seaplane Base piloted by F/Lt Clive W. Miller and proceeded to Awar to lead Walrus X9515 with a rescue party. The Walrus landed in the Karawari River despite floating debris and a six knot current. Meanwhile, Beaufort A9-657 piloted by F/L Thomas and Beaufort A9-680 piloted by S/L Dewar both from 100 Squadron covered the rescue by strafing nearby villages and suspect Japanese positions. Afterwards, the Walrus successfully took off and landed at Tadji Airfield.

Postwar
On January 6, 1948 sold to Kingsford Smith Air Services. Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
ADF Serials - Catalina A24-44
WW2 Nominal Roll - Reginald Joseph Marr
Wings: Official Magazine of the R.A.A.F. "Walrus rescues Yank pilot" September 4, 1945 page 18
Flight and Aircraft Engineer "R.A.A.F. Air/Sea Rescue - How an American Pilot was Picked Up from Under the Noses of the Japs by a Walrus of the Royal Australian Air Force" August 30, 1945 page 228
NAA [Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) miscellaneous records:] RAAF War History Section - War Stand Reports - No. 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight (NAA: AWM66, 102 B)
6. Aircraft [Catalina] A24-44 (F/Lt Miller) to locate P-38 pilot forced down approximately 10 miles N.E. of Lake Chambri in the Sepik River area. Survivor located in dense kunai grass but nearest river suitable for alighting situated 2 miles away. The pilot was only 1/2 mile from the Kerawari River in which a Seagull could alight. It was then too late in the afternoon for a Seagull [Walrus] to arrive before dusk so the pilot was led towards the river.
7. Aircraft A25-55 (F/Lt. Miller) covered survivor but due to low cloud base the Seagull was unable to locate him and returned to base. It was not possible to carry out another attempt before dusk. Messages were dropped to the survivor keeping him au fait with the the situation. Emergency supplies of food and water were dropped to him and he was led to within 250 yards of the river.
8. Aircraft A24-44 (F/Lt. Miller) proceeded to Awar to lead the Seagull [Walrus] to the survivor's position. This was done and the pilot led out of the kunai by two native police boys. When the rescue was affected enemy held villages along the Sepik River were strafed."
WW2 Nominal Roll - Clive William Miller
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette - page 490, position 46 - 28 February 1946
London Gazette page 1076, position 34 - 22 February 1946 [Flying Officer “N.M. Agnew (Aus-42303i)”]

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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