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  S.23 "Coolangattta" Serial Number A18-13  
Qantas Empire Airways

Former Assignments
41 Squadron
33 Squadron

Aircraft History
Built by Short in Rochester, Kent United Kingdom. Constructors Number S.877. Assigned the British registration G-AFBK. Operated by Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) and registered in Australia with call sign VH-ABB. Nicknamed "Coolangattta".

Wartime History
During July 1941 impressed into service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with serial number A18-13. Assigned to 11 Squadron operating from Walter Bay and Fairfax Harbor off Port Moresby.

By July 1940 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.

On December 21, 1941 flown to Rose Bay for an overhaul and installation of rails inside the fuselage to facilitate the transport of aircraft engines through the rear hatch and painted in camouflage paint.

On December 24, 1941 took off from Rose Bay piloted by Flt Lt John Hampshire on a flight to Dili with an new engine for a 13 Squadron Lockheed Hudson aboard. Unloaded onto a lighter, on December 25, 1941 the Hudson's engine requiring overhaul was loaded as cargo then this flying boat returned to Rose Bay.

On January 1, 1942 took off from Rose Bay on a flight to Darwin and used to fly ammunition to Surabaya for the U. S. Army Air Force. On January 17, 1942 helped evacuate woman and children and wounded personnel from Koepang and Ambon.

During early February, took off from Darwin on a flight to Koepang to rescued survivors of S.23 "Corio".

On February 12, 1942 took off from Darwin piloted by Flt Lt Hampshire on a flight to Ambon in an attempt to rescue any RAAF personnel remaining. Refueled at sea using Wirraway fuel tanks as extra fuel tanks in the fuselage. No signals were observed ashore and the flying boat departed empty.

On February 13, 1942 took off from Darwin piloted by Flt Lt Hampshire on a flight to Buru Island west of Ambon and successfully rescuing men of the Namlea Rear Party. For his rescues during early February, Hampshire earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), the only award to a RAAF Empire flying boat crew member. On one flight, 60 evacuees were carried, the largest number on any Empire flying boat.

On February 15, 1942 departed Darwin and flown southward over two days before arriving at Rose Bay on February 17, 1942 for overhaul.

On August 21, 1942 assigned to 41 Squadron (Sea Transport) at Townsville along with S.33 "Clifton" A18-14 as A Flight. Transported personnel and cargo to and from Horn Island, Port Moresby and Merauke.

During July 1943 returned to Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) with call sign VH-ABB and operated from Rose Bay.

Mission History
On October 11, 1944 crashed while landed at Rose Bay.

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


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