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  S.23 "Coogee" Serial Number A18-12  
Qantas Empire Airways

Former Assignments
41 Squadron
33 Squadron

Aircraft History
Built by Short in Rochester, Kent United Kingdom. Constructors Number S.849. Assigned the British registration G-AEUG. Operated by Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) and registered in Australia with call sign VH-ABC. Nicknamed "Coogee".

Wartime History
During July 1940 impressed into service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with serial number A18-12. Assigned to 11 Squadron operating from Walter Bay and Fairfax Harbor off Port Moresby.

On July 10, 1940 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Captain William B. Purton on a flight to Tulagi Seaplane Base.

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.

Mission History
On February 27, 1942 took off from Townsville piloted by Flt Lt. Robert Love on a test flight. The flying boat was carrying unauthorized passengers that changed the center of gravity causing the flying boat to nose down and crash when the throttle was reduced while aligning, eight died in the crash including Love.

Afterwards, this flying boat was converted to components and scrapped.

Air Enthusiast "C-Class 'Boats at War" by David Vincent page 33-37
ADF Serials - S23 A18-13

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


Tech InfoS.23

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