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Built by Maatschappij voor Vliegtuigbouw NV Aviolanda in Papendrecht, Netherlands. Werknummern 73. The wings were built separately by De Koninklijke Maatschappij 'De Schelde' in Vlissingen, Flushing. On November 17, 1939 delivered to Aviolanda as Dornier Do 24K-1 serial number X-36.
This flying boat was completed March 8, 1940 and purchased by the Marine-Luchtvaartdienst (MLD), one of eleven flying boats built for the Marineluchtvaartdienst (Netherlands Naval Aviation Service). Before shipment overseas, this aircraft was converted into a Do 24K-1 variant. Painted in MLD markings and serial number X-36 painted on both sides of the fuselage in large black letters.
On March 21, 1940 loaded as cargo aboard the vessel Topanoeli and shipped overseas to the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). On November 29, 1941 transferred from Kalabani to Ambon. On December 3, 1941 relieved by GVT-7 and transfered from Ambon to Morokrembangan Seaplane Base in eastern Java for a 200 hour inspection. On December 12, 1941 transfered to squadron GVT 4 at Pontianak.
On December 15, 1941 made an emergency landing due to an engine failure south of the Natoena Islands. Afterwards, this aircraft was towed to Pontianak for repairs. On December 19, 1941 strafed by Japanese aircraft while in dry dock and heavily damaged. After emergency repairs at Pontianak, flown to Morokrembangan Seaplane Base for further repairs. Within four days the plane was operational again.
On December 26, 1941 transferred to GVT 1 as replacement aircraft for Do 24 X-6. On December 30, 1941 took off on a reconnaissance mission to search for Do 24 X-15 missing December 29, 1941 but no trace was found. On January 2, 1942 relieved by GVT 6.
During February 1942, this aircraft was transferred to Lake Grati near Soerabaja in Java and flew reconnaissance missions along with Do 24 X-1, Do 24 X-20 and Do 24 X-24.
On March 2, 1942 took off piloted by Petsu with co-pilot Hubinks. Aboard were civilian passengers including the wives of both pilots. Running low on fuel at night, this flying boat landed safely onto mud flats roughly a mile off the coast of Western Australia near Anna Plains approximately fifty miles south of Broome.
On March 3, 1942 in the morning, Electra VH-ABW piloted by James Wood, spotted them and circled the beach and noted what they needed. Landing at nearby Anna Plains ranch, he collected water and dropped it on the beach nearby. That afternoon, rancher Leo Gugeri transported the elderly and woman to Anna Plains.
On March 5, 1942 the crew burned the flying boat, fearing further Japanese air raids or an invasion was immanent.
Leo Gugeri eyewitness recalls:
"When I went back for the rest of the people in the morning they had packed mattresses & anything else that would burn on the plane & covered them with oil and fired a flare into it, the tide was out at the time & the engines were tipped out and the front of the plane was burnt. The body and tail section were unharmed, I could have cried when I saw what they had done to destroy such a lovely machine, They said they were following instructions, not to leave anything that could be used by the enemy."
Afterwards, Leo Gugeri recovered the medical chest, flashlight and fuel tank from the wreckage. During 1982, Stan Gajda relocated the crash site after hearing rumors about the presence of this flying boat.
Dornier24.com - Werknummern 73
Do24 X-36 Eyewitness Account by Leo Gugeri, 1980
Thanks to Stan Gajda for additional information
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