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Built by Junkers as G 31 ba Trimotor serial number J3000. On September 26, 1929 this aircraft made its first flight. Registered in Germany as D-1073.
This aircraft was one of four G 31 Trimotors purchased by Bulolo Gold Dredging Company (BGD) operated by Guinea Airways. During 1931, converted into a freighter powered by three Pratt & Whitney A2 Hornet radial engines with an open cockpit and a large hatch on the top of the fuselage for loading cargo.
On June 9, 1934 registered in Australia as VH-URQ. Nicknamed "Pat". This aircraft was based at Lae Airfield and used to transport dredge parts, equipment and supplies to Wau Airfield and Bulolo Airfield to support the company's gold mining operations.
On January 21, 1942 took off from Lae Airfield piloted by Bertie Heath and co-pilot Malcolm Goad with a cargo of three tons of Fosters beer aboard and landed at Bulolo Airfield at roughly 12:25pm. After exiting the plane, five A6M2 Zeros from Shōkaku (piloted by WO Abe Yasujirō, PO3c Tanaka Yoshifuji, Sea1c Horiguchi Shunji, PO1c Hayashi Fujo, Sea1c Komachi Sadamu) strafe the area for fifteen minutes, destroying this trimotor. Also destroyed is G 31 "Bulolo I Paul" VH-UOU and G 31 "Bulolo 2 Peter" VH-UOV parked at Bulolo Airfield.
The burned out wreckage of this Trimotor remained at Bulolo Airfield. During 1943 when Australian Army soliders occupied the area, the wreckage was still at aifield including the rear fuselage with VH-URQ. Postwar, the wreckage still remained. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
Junkers Production Details via Wayback Machine March 5, 2016
The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles NGVR 1939-1943 by Ian Down:
Buster H. Mills NGVR recalled: "By this time, our effect and of course the three burning cargo planes no longer needed our protection.... As for the beer from Heath's plane, the top layers had burst from the heat of the burning Junker but a good supply of refreshment was still useable from the bottom [...]"
The Battle For Wau (2008) page 2
Thanks to Phil Bradley, Bruce Hoy and Luke Ruffato for additional information
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