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  Ford 4-AT-E Trimotor Serial Number A45-2  
33 Squadron

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AWM 1938
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AWM June 1940
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AWM June 1940

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Bruce Hoy 1978

Aircraft History
Built by Ford. Registered in the United Kingdom as G-ABEF and NC9678.

Transported to New Guinea. On October 7, 1935 registered as VH-UDY by Holden's Air Transport Services in New Guinea based at Lae Airfield along with Trimotor VH-USX until October 10, 1936. Next, registered to Guinea Airways on April 12, 1937 and flown in civilian service until the start of the Pacific War.

Wartime History
When the Japanese attacked New Guinea, and this trimotor was flown to Australia during early February 1942.

Impressed into service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with serial number A45-2 on February 6, 1942, along with Trimotor A45-1 (VH-UBI) and returned to New Guinea to make emergency flights.

Piloted by F/L Norm Fader of RAAF 11 Squadron, this trimotor flew to Wau Airfield, Bulolo Airfield, Kokoda Airfield, and Garaina Airfield to bring out engines, instruments and mercury for the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company. Prewar, Fader had flown this same trimotor on many occasions. In total, this trimotor made four successful ferry flights during the war.

On March 13, 1942 at 8:36am while parked at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby destroyed during a low level strafing attack by five A6M2 Zeros. B-17E 41-2435 and a Lockheed Hudson on finals were also attacked but escaped without any apparent damage.

On November 21, 1978 the undercarriage of this aircraft was recovered from the post-war aircraft disassembly area at Moitaka to the northwest of 7-Mie Drome (Jackson Airfield) which was located not far from where the 27th Air Depot Group had its hangars and workshops during the war and transported to the PNG Museum for display and storage.

Bruce Hoy recalls:
"I brought in one of the main undercarriage and wheel of VH-UDY from an old aircraft dump on the north-western end of Jacksons and brought into the PNG Museum and formed part of my first display in December 1978 to mark 75 years of powered flight. Last known to be in the shed at the Department of Modern History, Ahuia Street, Gordon."

Thanks to Bruce Hoy, Daniel Leahy and Wynnum Graham for additional information.
Note, some sources list the date of the strafing as either March 11th or 13th, or 20th.

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info
Ford Trimotor

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