ON 30 AUGUST 1945

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visits since 10 September 2000

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RAAF PBY-5 Catalina, A24-1,  crashed on take-off from East Arm, Darwin on 30 August 1945 (or was it 31 August?) when the pilot, Wing Commander Bolitho, found the aircraft would not plane properly. It bounced badly and a hole was finally punched in the hull by the force of the impact. The Catalina sank very quickly.

A24-1 was one of nine Catalinas which were to be sent to Singapore carrying Medical Stores, Personnel and Records in preparation for Unconditional Surrender by the Japanese. It would appear that the aircraft may have been overloaded 

The nine Catalinas had arrived at Rose Bay in Sydney on 27 August 1945 and loaded their cargo. They flew back to Rathmines to refuel. At 0700 hrs on 28 August 1945, the nine Catalinas flew to Cairns in north Queensland. They flew to Darwin the next morning. Catalina A24-1 was received by the RAAF in February 1941.

Catalina A24-1 was towed in to the mud flats after the accident. The remains of the Catalina can still be seen to this day. The other eight Catalinas returned to their moorings after this accident to see if they could lighten their loads.


Close-up of Catalina A24-1 in the mudflats in the early 1970's


Now that's an interesting shadow!


Catalina at Caboolture Air Show 15 May 2004


Catalina at Caboolture Air Show 15 May 2004


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A Catalina at Mackay Airport - 1961

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A Catalina at Mackay airport - 1961



I'd like to thank Monty Jesinowski for his assistance with this home page.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


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This page first produced 20 March 2000

This page last updated 24 March 2005