VH-AGJ



Type: L-414-56 Hudson Mk IIIA/A-29
L-414-08 Hudson Mk IV (converted)
MSN: 6464
Previous Identities: 41-36975
FH174
A16-199
VH-SMM
Subsequent Identity: G-BEOX
Owner: RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K.


History:

A16-199
 
02APR42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex USA.
30JUN42 Received 13 Sqn at Hughes, N.T. ex 1 AD.
31JUL42 Logbook of Reg Curtis, Flt Lt. (Retired) RAAF, DFM, Hudson Navigator, records 11 flights in A16-199 from 31JUL42 to 14OCT42. The flights were of 3-9 hours duration; three were curtailed by engine failure. (Source: 1)
25AUG42 Pilot Plt Off McDonald - from Hughes Field raid on Dili, Portuguese Timor. Port engine failed over central Timor, bombs jettisoned. Returned at night on one engine. Flying time 6 hours 50 minutes. (Source: 1)
26AUG42 Logbook extract of former Sgt Wireless Operator/Air Gunner W R J Shaw records 7.40 hour patrol to Millingimbi, taking off from Hughes Field at 06.40; pilot P/O Dixon, with a 1.45 hour return flight to Hughes, leaving Millingimbi at 15.45. (Source: 1)
02SEP42 Pilot Plt Off McDonald - Hughes Field to Ambon - reconnaissance sortie abandoned when enemy aircraft sighted, port engine failed one hour from base at Hughes Field. Flying time 7hrs 45mins. (Source: 1)
25SEP42 Pilot Plt Off McDonald from Hughes Field. Discovered HMAS `Voyager' aground ashore, SE Timor - opened up with ack ack on us, evasive action. The damaged ship was later evacuated and blown up. (Source: 1)
04OCT42 Logbook extract of former Sgt Wireless Operator/Air Gunner W R J Shaw records 7 hour Patrol, taking off at 06.30. Pilot P/O George Oldham from NSW. WOAG's Shaw and Sgt. Parker. (Source: 1)
08OCT42 Logbook extract of former Sgt Wireless Operator/Air Gunner W R J Shaw records 4 hour strike sortie; no shipping seen and no interceptions made. Pilot was again P/O Oldham; took off at 16.00. (Source: 1)
10OCT42 Pilot Plt Off McDonald from Hughes Field, raid on Dili, 18,000 feet bombs on eastern end of town, intensive ack ack fire, return to Hughes Field. During OCT42 A16-199 was also flown by P/O Dixon, F/O Jaques, P/O George Oldham and P/O Thompson. (Source: 1)
22OCT42 Received 5 AD ex 13 Sqn via 1 AD.
30NOV42 Received 13 Sqn ex 5 AD via 1 AD.
21DEC42 Plt Sgt Campbell - Anti-Submarine Patrol. Armed reconnaissance for possible floatplane base, west coast Aroe Is. Formation attacked by enemy aircraft. Floatplane attacked and caught fire -minor damage to Hudson. Operations over Timor included those in support of `Sparrow Force' - a guerrilla operation that was still fighting on the Japanese occupied island, supplies being dropped to them. See No.13 Squadron operations list, File E.30. (Source: 1)
03FEB43 Further sortie crewed by Reg Curtis. Pilot Wg Cdr Jock Whyte - Hughes Field, raid on Pobo Is, bombs on target, attacked by Japanese `Pete' floatplane, shot floatplane down, intense ack ack fire. Other missions flown by A16-199 at this time included searching for survivors of sunken ships and downed airmen, and numerous anti-submarine patrols and armed reconnaissances. In 1942 Wg Cdr A J Craze flew A16-199 as 2nd pilot and Plt Off John Alcock (13 Sqn) on 8 sorties from Hughes Field, and following year as captain flew 10 operational sorties with 2 Sqn on A16-199. (Source: 1)
13FEB43 Received 1RSU ex 13 Sqn.
08MAR43 Issued to 13 Sqn ex 1RSU.
30MAR43 Final Hudson operation by No 13 squadron. (Source: 1)
04APR43 Received 2 Sqn ex 13 Sqn.
04APR43 13 Sqn to Canberra to reform. A16-199 stayed behind and transferred to 2 Sqn RAAF, who moved to Hughes Airbase that month. (Source: 1)
14APR43 Received at 1RSU for an engine change.
01MAY43 Received at 2 Sqn ex 1RSU.
06MAY43 Attack on Maikour and Taberfare. Formation intercepted by Rufe. Bombs jettisoned. One Hudson shot down. (Source: 1)
11MAY43 Extract from Reg Curtis log book - he had transferred from 13 to 2 Sqn - `Wg Comdr. Jock Whyte. (Pilot) Hughes Field, reconnaissance search for shipping to New Guinea Coast, to Cape Valsh, Dutch New Guinea. Navigator (Curtis) wounded in stomach. Nav shot down one Japanese `Sally' and awarded DFM. (Source: 1)
03JUN43 Pilot's flying log book of E.B 'Beech' Stacy (X002-5794) records flight from Hughes to Millingimbi on 'Zebra Search No.2' with same aircraft and four crew returning from Millingimbi to Hughes the following day for Zebra Search No. 3. (Source: 1)
09AUG43 Logbook of then Flight Sergeant Radio Operator/Gunner, later Flying Officer, John Allan Ford RAAF records take off at 17.20 for strike on Doelah-Kai Island 'All bombs in target area; Big Explosion and Fire'; flying time 6.5 hours. (Source: 1)
11SEP43 Logbook of then Flight Sergeant Radio Operator/Gunner, later Flying Officer, John Allan Ford RAAF records 7.45 hour flight to from Hughes via various islands, taking off at 10.50. (Source: 1)
14NOV43 Log book of Sqn Ldr Ross Moore RAAF (retired) records 7 flights in A16-199 to 23DEC43, including circuits and bumps and sea search. (Source: 1)
30DEC43 Received at 4RSU ex 2 Sqn for 240 hourly inspection.
26FEB44 Received at 2 Sqn ex 4RSU.
08APR44 Last operational flight with 2 Sqn - a Sea Search, captained by Flg Off Roger Kuring - 2 Sqn re-equipping with Beauforts, having been the last RAAF operational unit equipped with Hudsons. This was also the unit's last Hudson patrol, A16-199 being the last Hudson with No.2 Squadron. (Air International Jun 86 p.310). (Source: 1)
09APR44 Issued to 3 CU ex 2 Sqn.
16APR44 Received 3 CU ex 2 Sqn for use by Radiophysics Laboratory. (Date previously shown incorrectly as 1943).
29AUG44 Received 2 AD Richmond ex 3 CU.
16NOV45 Stored at 2 AD.
24SEP47 Sold to Macquarie Grove Flying School for £150.
27NOV47 Collected by purchaser. (Date previously shown incorrectly as 01DEC47).
VH-SMM
 
06OCT50 Registration application from John Fairfax & Sons Pty Ltd, Sydney.
18DEC50 Added to Register as VH-SMM and test flown same day.
10AUG51 Change of ownership to Herald Flying Services, Sydney.
27MAY52 Withdrawn from service.
02MAR53 Struck off Register.
21SEP54 Herald Flying Services applied to DCA for a CofA and CofR.
23SEP54 A Fixed Equipment List signed by G. Davies of Herald Flying Services indicates that the aircraft is fitted with only two seats (in the cockpit) and a "folding box chute over dropping doors".
12OCT54 Returned to Register as VH-SMM.
16OCT54 Departed for Essendon for engine modifications by T.A.A. On charter to Brown & Dureau Ltd., Aerial Survey Division. During its stay at Essendon, tradesmen from Brown & Dureau carried out minor airframe work on the nose window and newspaper chute. This work was incomplete when the aircraft departed for Moorabbin.
24NOV54 Departed for Moorabbin on completion of engine work by T.A.A. Entered Brown & Dureau hangar at Moorabbin for completion of aerial survey modifications:
Installation of an oxygen system.
Installation of a camera hatch and camera mount near the rear door.
Installation of two additional perspex windows in the nose section.
16DEC54 Application to DCA for approval to fit R-1830-90B engines. These are R-1830-S1C3G engines converted by the addition of two speed superchargers in order to carry out aerial photography at altitudes up to 25,000 feet. The work was performed by TAA at Essendon.
10JAN55 Provisional approval for fitment of R-1830-90B engines.
18JAN55 DCA Head Office requested DCA Sydney to forward CofA for endorsement of following modifications:
Engine mods (R-1830-S1C3G to R-1830-90B)
Provision of oxygen equipment for the crew.
Installation of camera hatch and camera mountings near the rear door.
Installation of two additional perspex windows in the nose section.
02MAR56 A Fixed Equipment List signed by G. Davies of Herald Flying Services indicates that the aircraft is fitted with two seats in the cockpit and one seat on the rear platform aft of the cabin door. A main oxygen bottle assembly is fitted aft of the main spar on the right hand cabin floor.
56 Leased to World Wide Aerial Surveys (Australia) Pty Ltd of Mascot, NSW by Herald Flying Services. The aircraft carried dual titles for WWAS and Sepal Pty Ltd. It is speculated that WWAS were operating on Sepal's aerial work licence. (Sepal was formed by Morry Lawrence who coined the name as an acronym of Sales Engineering (alternatively Efficiency) Procurement Agencies and Loading. The name was pronounced "See-Pol". Sepal Pty Ltd was acquired by Adastra in late 1957).
25MAR56 First flight in VH-SMM by Max Garroway for World Wide Aerial Surveys: "I first flew it on 25 March 1956 and then all during April and May of that year on a survey job for the NSW Lands Dept. We based in Coffs Harbour. At this time VH-SMM had a metal nose which made survey nigh impossible for the navigator. (The aircraft had previously been used by Brown and Dureau who did some survey work with it in Tasmania, but their results were not good. I reckon their results were poor due to them being unable to see through the nose. We were told that they got their drift by using a backward facing drift sight.) So we placed the problem before Gwyn Davies of the Herald Flying Service who installed a clear nose." (Source: 2)
JUN56 Max Garroway: "On another occasion whilst flying VH-SMM out of Rockhampton for World Wide Aerial Surveys on a photo-survey of the Percy Isles area, we struck a howling westerly at 25,000 feet and on the westerly photo run we found it impossible to get a time interval for the camera. We had struck a jet stream and were flying backwards so we had to give it away!" This contract commenced on 29MAY56 and was completed on 16JUN56 after which the aircraft positioned to Camden. Other crew were Wright and Pavlich. (Source: 2)
02JUL56 VH-SMM operated a World Wide Aerial Surveys contract out of Camden for the NSW Department of Main Roads until 27JUL56. Crew comprised Braund, Garroway, Phillips, Brill, Pavlich, Robinson. (Source: 2)
28FEB57 Camera Operator Kevin Pavlich ended his employment with World Wide Aerial Surveys (Australia) Pty. Ltd. (Source: Log Book of Kevin Pavlich)
18MAR57 Camera Operator Kevin Pavlich joined Adastra. (Source: Log Book of Kevin Pavlich)
24JUN57 On this day, VH-SMM, which was then being operated by World Wide Aerial Surveys (Sepal), met up with Adastra's VH-AGO at Horn Island where the two crews lunched together. VH-AGO set course for Weipa Mission at 1516 hours but at 1523 hours Captain Linfoot advised Thursday Island that he was returning to Horn Island with engine trouble. He also asked that VH-SMM be held on the ground at Horn Island to render assistance if required. By this time, VH-SMM was lined up and ready to take-off from Runway 08. The DCA Senior Groundsman drove his truck on to the runway and pulled up in front of the Hudson to advise the crew that VH-AGO was returning at which point VH-AGO arrived in the circuit. VH-SMM immediately vacated the runway and held adjacent to the runway threshold from where Captain Les Taylor witnessed the approach and subsequent crash of VH-AGO. VH-SMM immediately took-off and having sighted the wreckage of VH-AGO on a tidal mud shelf, landed again so that the crew could render assistance at the crash site. (Source: 3)
57 Leased to East-West Airlines, Tamworth.
58 Returned to John Fairfax & Sons.
13MAR59 A Fixed Equipment List signed by G. Davies of Herald Flying Services indicates that the aircraft is fitted with two seats in the cockpit, one camera operator's seat on the rear platform aft of the cabin door, one seat in the nose and one engineer's seat aft of the main spar. A main oxygen cylinder is fitted at an unspecified location with five outlets and regulators (1 nose, 1 cockpit, 2 cabin & 1 camera operator station). An Aldis sight is fitted at the camera location.
59 Leased to Adastra Aerial Surveys, Sydney.
MAR60 Photo survey out of Devonport and Hobart by Max Garroway and Hal McKinley until APR60. (Source: 2)
03JUN60 Struck power transmission cables at Humpty Doo, N.T. The cockpit roof and upper aerials were demolished but the aircraft landed safely at Darwin.
11AUG60 Adastra applied to DCA for confirmation of approval to test-fly VH-SMM after repairs. An earlier written application dated 03AUG60 states that the repairs "conform to recommended repair scheme in Lockheed Lodestar Manual." (Given that VH-SMM had a sheet metal cockpit roof, it was in this respect more a Lodestar than a Hudson).
12AUG60 Verbal approval granted for test flight.
NOV62 Photo survey out of Melbourne by Max Garroway and Kevin Pavlich until DEC62. (Source: 2)
JAN63 Photo survey out of Devonport and Hobart by Max Garroway. (Source: 2)
31JAN63 Max Garroway made his last flight in VH-SMM (out of Devonport). (Source: 2)
07MAY63 A Fixed Equipment List prepared by Herald Flying Services indicates that the aircraft is fitted with one engineer's seat in the cabin, one navigator's seat in the nose, one navigators seat in the cabin, one spare crew seat in the cabin and one camera operator's seat aft of the main door. (The pilot's seat is not listed!) The main oxygen bottle is fitted at station 219 but it is not stated if this is in the cabin or the bomb bay.
AUG64 Photographed at Bankstown alongside Lancaster NX611/WU-15/G-ASXX. (Flypast Nov 2004, p.42). (Source: 1)
24JUN66 Change of ownership to Sepal Pty Ltd, Mascot (an Adastra company).
VH-AGJ
 
14DEC66 Re-registered VH-AGJ.
30DEC66 Photographed under overhaul in Hangar 13 at Mascot. By this time the camera hatch had been cut in the nose compartment.
20FEB67 Log Book signed off by Jack McDonald. In addition to a routine overhaul, the following were incorporated:
Partitions built in at station 188 (over main spar) and station 378 (aft of cabin door).
Bulkhead built into nose section at station 92¾ (forward of windshield apex).
Seat manufactured and attached to bulkhead at station 92¾.
"Nose section fitted with standard Lockheed perspex nose sections." (As all the nose windows were decidedly non-standard, this undoubtedly refers to the replacement of the heavily framed nose transparency with a conventional Hudson transparency).
A new oxygen system was installed in the bomb bay (3 cylinders in port rack and 3 cylinders in starboard rack).
The nose section was lined with sound proofing and covered with 1/8 ply covering.
19DEC67 A Fixed Equipment List prepared by Adastra indicates that the aircraft is fitted with one pilot's seat, one navigator's seat in the nose, one camera operator's seat in the nose and five seats in the cabin. A co-pilot's seat can be fitted when required. The oxygen system comprises six bottles in the bomb bay.
70 Repainted in Adastra's grey/orange livery.
24OCT69 Change of ownership from Sepal to Adastra Aerial Surveys Pty. Ltd., Mascot.
21AUG70 Log Book signed off by Clive Nosworthy. In addition to routine overhaul, the bomb doors were modified for A.P.R. installation.
01FEB72 Struck off Register at owner's request and stored in Adastra hangar at Mascot.
09APR73 Engine change as part of major inspection. (Source: 1)
13APR73 Air test at Sydney. (Source: 1)
16APR73 Change of ownership to M.J. Whittington (t/a Hendon Aeroplane Company) Avalon Beach, Sydney.
APR73 Sold to the Strathallan Collection for AU$17,930.00. (Source: 1)
19APR73 Air test at Sydney. (Source: 1)
19APR73 Departed Sydney on delivery to the Strathallan Aircraft Collection, Auchterarder, Scotland. Flown by Lionel Van Praag and accompanied by engineer Bill Chambers.

The full routing was Sydney, Charleville, Mt. Isa, Darwin, Kupang, Sourabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Calcutta, Delhi, Karachi, Dubai, Bahrain, Damascus, Athens, Rome, Marseilles, Gatwick, Prestwick. On this, her final flight, the aircraft covered 12,000 miles in 73 flying hours, giving total airframe hours of 8,494.45.

Lionel Van Praag wrote of the delivery flight: `Tropical storms were encountered over Indonesia and the airplane leaked like a sieve and the water damaged a few of the gyro instruments. At Delhi, India I was interrogated by army blokes at considerable length about the aircraft and the trip they were hardly nice people'. After Paris `then came London through very bad weather using blind flying instruments that were far from good and no windscreen wipers with zero visibility and low cloud along with the other things to contend with it was a blind landing', though `the Pommy talk down man was terrific'. (Source: 1)
04MAY73 Arrived at Prestwick where the aircraft waited until the waterlogged Strathallan airfield had dried out. (Source: 1)
10MAY73 Flown from Prestwick to Strathallan. The aircraft did not fly again after delivery to Strathallan. (Source: 1)
G-BEOX
 
25MAR77 Re-registered G-BEOX to Sir William Roberts.
14JUL81 Auctioned by Christies as Lot 14 at sale of part of the Strathallan Collection. Sold to the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon for UK£16,000. The aircraft is identified by the RAFM as Accession Number 81/AF/1057. (Source: 1)
AUG81 Aircraft moved by Abingdon Salvage and Transportation Flight from Strathallan to St Athan for repainting, the wings arriving in September. (Source: 1)
06OCT81 Aircraft moved from St Athan to Hendon. (Source: 1)
02NOV81 Reassembly at Hendon complete. Aircraft cocooned and stored by the Beverley until the Bomber Command Museum aircraft moves were complete.
(Source: 1)
A16-199
 
JAN82 Aircraft moved into main hall of Museum. (Source: 1)
Displayed at Hendon in RAAF markings as A16-199. Aircraft still retains its survey configuration i.e. non-standard nose glazing, metal skinned canopy and no turret although a turret is displayed next to the aircraft.
22DEC81 G-BEOX withdrawn from use. (Source: 1)
04JAN82 G-BEOX cancelled from UK Register. (Source: 1)
26FEB10 The RAF Museum's Keeper of Aircraft, Andrew Simpson, advised as follows: Detailed consideration was given to returning the aircraft to full military status, but the extent of airframe modification this would involve precluded it at the time. Much of the nose forward of the cockpit windscreen would need to be replaced, and a new turret ring fitted in the rear fuselage - so for the foreseeable future she will be remaining 'as is'.
   
  If the RAF Museum do decide at some time in the future to return the aircraft to military configuration and remove the survey nose section, it is hoped by many surviving Adastrians that the survey nose can be returned for preservation in an Australian museum.

 

SOURCES
1
Royal Air Force Museum, Individual History of A16-199 (Accession Number 81/AF/1057) compiled by Andrew Simpson. Reproduced with permission of the RAFM.
2
Correspondence from Max Garroway to Doug Morrison.
3
NAA: Report on investigation into aircraft accident to Lockheed Hudson Mk III VH-AGO at Horn Island, Qld on 24 June 1957 Series number A8325 Control symbol 24/6/1957 PART 1

 

 


Issue Date Remarks
13 27JUN17
Added six recent images of the aircraft at the RAF Museum. Thanks to Curator, Andy Simpson for access to the interior.
12 26JUN17
Added several flights from Max Garroway's log book thanks to Doug Morrison.
11 30JAN17
Added more information on VH-SMM having been witness to the crash of Hudson VH-AGO on 24JUN57.
10 02MAR16
Added an image of the aircraft at Prestwick after its ferry flight from Sydney.
9 31JAN16
Refreshed the page and images.
8 22JAN16
Added two colour images of the aircraft undergoing repairs after the wire strike incident. Thanks to Jim Hilferty. Image 1 Image 2
7 20AUG15
Added and image of VH-AGJ at Port Hedland in 1968 thanks to Aubrey Adams, Greg Thom and Geoff Goodall.
6 27FEB10
Many additions drawn from a history sheet compiled by Andrew Simpson, a Curator at the RAF Museum, Hendon. This new information is annotated (Source: 1) and is reproduced with the permission of the RAF Museum.

Also added several references drawn from correspondence between Max Garroway and Doug Morrison. These are annotated (Source: 2)
5 22APR03
Added the date of arrival at Strathallan (10MAY73).
4 28MAR03
Added reference to wire strike incident and subsequent repairs. Thanks to Jim Hilferty, I have added four images of the repairs.
Also added greater detail of initial aerial survey mods.
Fixed Equipment Lists are taken from the aircraft file (NAA C3905/8).