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  PB2B-1 Catalina VI Serial Number A24-206  (aka "Catalina 3")

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing of Canada. Delivered to the U.S. Navy (USN) as PB2B-1 Catalina bureau number 44217. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number JX611. Ferried overseas across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Catalina serial number A24-206. On March 9, 1945 assigned to 43 Squadron. On June 15, 1945 assigned to No. 20 Squadron.

Mission History
On June 20, 1945 took off on a test flight piloted by F/Lt Francis G. Jensen and landed safely. Afterwards, this Catalina was moored on a bouy in the southern anchorage at East Arm in Darwin Harbor and underwent refueling and was armed with 250 pound depth charges. One was accidentally released, fell through the timber barge and exploded at its fused depth cauaing the Catalina to sink and the other wing mounted depth charges exploded as it sank. The explosions killed LAC Walter A. Strang, 131729 and LAC Richard L. Graham, 123199.

The wreck site was identified by a process of elimination. Since there were only three RAAF Catalinas lost in Darwin Harbor during World War II, and since Catalina A24-69 was identified, this third site must be Catalina A24-206.

This wreckage is sometimes refereed to as "Catalina 3".  Dive inspections have revealed that the explosion occurred on the starboard wing. The starboard wing was blown off and lies some sixty meters away from the main wreck site. However, identification plates have not been located for this aircraft, perhaps taken by divers many years ago.

There is a possibility that this site could be a PBY Catalina from U.S. Navy (USN) Patrol Wing 10 (Pat Wing 10) destroyed February 19, 1942 during the first Japanese air raid against Darwin Harbor. However, the wreck site is unlikely to this aircraft because its location does not fit with historical accounts of the air raid.

The three PBYs were lost during the February 19, 1942 Japanese air raid against Darwin.
#4 USN PBY-4, BuNo. 1214 - ex-101-P-27, ex-102-P-27
#8 USN PBY-4, BuNo. 1233 - ex-101-P-8
#41 28-5MNE, ex-Y 41, Marineluchtvaartdienst (RNNAS)

ADF Serials A24-206
WW2 Nominal Roll - Francis G. Jensen
WW2 Nominal Roll - Walter A. Strang
WW2 Nominal Roll - Richard L. Graham
Thanks to Wynnum Graham for aircraft information

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Last Updated
November 9, 2019


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