ON 14 MAY 1942


On 14 May 1942, about a week after the two American Kittyhawks had flown under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Dutch thought they would go one better.

The Dutch had evacuated 11 aircraft to Australia comprising two DC-2's, two DC-3's, three DC-5's and four Lockheed 14 aircraft. The Dutch were coerced into selling their aircaft to the USAAF. One of the Lockheed 14 aircraft was subsequently written off. As part of the sale they were required to test fly all their aircraft before the handover to the Americans.

To display their unhappiness with the forced sale of these aircraft, the KNILM staff decided to have all ten aircraft ready for a spectacular test flight over Sydney Harbour on 14 May 1942. They had over 50 passengers on board comprising ground staff, waiters and waitresses and kitchen staff from the restaurant at the airport.

After several aircraft buzzed the Dutch destroyer Tromp, a DC-2, a DC-3 and a DC-5 lined up another target - the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Approaching the bridge from Sydney Heads they flew in line astern under the Bridge, pulled up, made a wide turn and then flew in single line again under the bridge and then returned to Kingsford Smith Airport.

The Dutch aircraft that flew under the Sydney Harbour bridge were as follows:-

DC-3 PK-ALW went on to become a part of General Douglas MacArthur's private fleet of aircraft. The aircraft is now located at the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.


Full details of this flight
under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Story by Nicholas Dijkstra of 18 Squadron NEI-AF


NOTE:- Nicholas Dijkstra suggests that there were five aircraft which took off and all five aircraft flew under the bridge. Ron Cuskelly (see below) suggests that ten aircraft took off and only three flew under the bridge in formation. The source for Ron's information about the Dutch aircraft which flew under the bridge is the late John Gyzemyter who was flight engineer on the DC-5.


Flying under the Sydney Harbour Bridge
during World War 2

Details of other flights under Sydney Harbour Bridge



More information on this flight under the Bridge
By Ron Cuskelly



"Protect & Revenge"
"The 49th Fighter Group in World War II"
by S.W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis


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This page first produced 5 January 2000

This page last updated 15 September 2018