FOUR PBY-5 CATALINAS FROM CRAWLEY SEA BASE
SUNK OFF PERTH AFTER WW2

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The five aircraft (PBY-5) that QANTAS used at the Crawley Sea Base in Western Australia were supplied by the RAF they did not come from RAAF stocks and they flew with civilian registration marked on the fuselage and each aircraft had a large single number on the fin and rudder, the aircraft themselves were camouflaged in standard RAF pattern and they had to be disposed of after the war as they could not be kept on the British register. The remaining four were sunk just off Perth and they may still be laying there today.

QANTAS was not the only airline that was a wolf in sheep's clothing during the war. ANSETT did a lot of transport work for the US Air force as did other smaller airlines. It was Reg Ansett's war time work that made him so successful.

Doug Wauchope (born 1943) told me that he lived near Crawley, in Western Australia in the 1940s. Doug's father was in the army at that time. After the war, the remaining Catalinas that flew the double sunrise flights from Crawley Bay to Ceylon were taken about 30 km out the back of Rottnest Island to what the local fishermen called the Trench where they were sunk. Doug told me that their repair shops were turned over to the Department of Civil Aviation and used as a depot after the war.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank Dennis Whiley and Doug Wauchope for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 2119 November 2000

This page last updated 10 December 2016