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Qantas Empire Airways
Modified with bombing cupola in the nose, 7.7mm Lewis gun mounts and long range fuel and oil tanks fitted for long range wartime operations. Until the start of the Pacific war, used to investigated suspicious movements, defend trade and conduct periodic reconnaissance over Port Moresby, Rabaul, Tulagi and Port Vila, organize a radio network, establish Advance Operational Bases (AOBs) and defend Port Moresby.
On January 22, 1942 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Flt Lt. Len Grey along with by S.23 "Calypso" A18-11 piloted by Flt Lt. Mike Mather on a flight to Wide Bay off New Britain to rescue RAAF 24 Squadron personnel walked from Rabaul to the southern coast of New Britain, but was diverted to Samarai due to a Japanese air raid over Rabaul.
On January 23, 1942 at 2pm departed Samarai flying only 50' off the sea before landing at Wide Bay at dusk and loaded Australian personnel for four hours. In total 86 personnel were loaded aboard and flown to Samarai Island that evening, landed along a flare path. Afterwards, S.23 "Calypso" A18-11 flew 42 of those rescued to Townsville while this aircraft returned to Wide Bay to rescued 49 more personnel. Afterwards, both pilots were awarded the Air Force Cross for these rescue flights.
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