My best guess as to an identity for PA-O would be NZ4044; it was almost certainly one of the original sixteen aircraft (NZ4029 - 4044) apparently allocated to 5 Squadron at Lauthala Bay and Segond Channel, and the first fifteen were coded as PA-A to PA-O without a break. NZ4044 was definitely at Segond Channel by November 1944. The remaining twelve PB2B-1s were initially held as attrition reserves at Hobsonville on receipt from San Diego, but 4045 seems to have become the official Hobsonville ASR Catalina almost immediately, wearing no particular code letters, with the others sitting awaiting the call for their services. First away was NZ4046, off to 6 Sqdn (Halavo Bay) at end of Feb 1945, then 4051, 4053 - 56 departed (but not in that order) to 6 Squadron between March and late April 1945 as replacements for the most worn out of the PBY-5s, the latter being withdrawn to NZ for storage. NZ4047 was sent to 5 Sqdn at Segond in May 1945 as replacement for the lost NZ4031, and 4052 replaced 4045 as the ASR aircraft at Hobsonville when the latter was sent up to 3 OTU (Lauthala Bay) in July 1945. I have no assignments for 4048 - 4050, although a contemporary note on 4048 in August 1947 states that it had been in storage for 2 and a half years, which pretty well confirms that this aircraft had not done much hard work for the RNZAF. However I would await photographic evidence before pronouncing that PA-P was definitely 4044. David D
Another note, the first of the photos in post 39 looks like Segond Channel (Espiritu Santo) with said channel in background, and the well-known servicing shelter prominent in nearer background - see other views of Segond in Charles Darby's "The First Decade" pages 89, 90, as well as Brendon Deere's "Military Wings, Vol 2" on pages 26 - 27. Unfortunately the servicing shelter is not visible in these views, but you will get the general idea. Rest of the shots look to have been taken at Halavo Bay (Florida Island), home of 6 Squadron from Dec 1943 to Sept 1945. This shelter is somewhat similar in design and identical in concept to one in Singapore used by 41 Sqdn Bristols, and were designed to keep the sun off about half a large aircraft at a time so that ground crew were not being continually roasted to death. RNZAF Catalinas could be seen at Hobsonville, Mechanics Bay, Evans Bay, Lauthala Bay, Segond Channel, Halavo Bay, Green Island, Los Negros, Jacquinot Bay, Emirau, etc, as well as lodged on USS COOS BAY for a few months in early 1944 at the Treasury Islands. Also Noumea harbour was a frequent destination for most of the war, as this was where our Catalinas were sent for most of their engine changes (by a US Navy unit). David D
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 8, 2012 16:29:43 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4047 arrived Fiji 15 September 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-C and then postwar to Lauthala Bay as KN-B with the reformed 5Sdn. Hit coral reef Vila, New Hebrides, 9Aug50 while taxiing. Pilot P/O D B Flintoff. Temporarily repaired on site, flown to Fiji & NZ, permanent repairs not carried out, no further use and declared surplus 1950, Disposal #3583. SOC & scrapped. NZ4047 being launched at RNZAF Hobsonville
Bill Mackley is well known for his Teal and Air New Zealand service. After a tour on Whitleys with Bomber Command he returned to NZ and No 2 GR Squadron at Nelson then he was posted to the Catalinas of 6 Squadron in the Solomons. The bar to his DFC was awarded for picking up a B24 crew from open water. Here are some details from that rescue.
Post 6 Squadron service he was one of the ferry crews bringing new Catalinas from San Diego to Fiji.
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 11, 2012 17:13:25 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4048 arrived Fiji 15 September 1944. Served at Lauthala Bay as KN-C with the reformed 5Sdn. Stalled and crashed on take-off Satapuala (a village situated on the north west coast Upolu island in Samoa) 12Dec50. 7 killed, 1 injured. Pilot P/O J J Shrubsail.
Enjoying the post Peter. Flying boats always seem to have a special character that big land planes dont. I wonder why. Maybe NZ4013 just gave up after the hammering Bill Mackley gave it. Satapuala is W Samoa flying boat base I think. Didnt Teal also use it ? There are pictures around I think. Keep ot up flyer
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 14, 2012 17:23:09 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4051 arrived Fiji 04 October 1944. Served post-war with 5Sdn at Lauthala Bay as KN-H
Damaged when hit a reef Lauthala Bay 25Nov45. Restored.
Cr on t/off Evans Bay, Wellington, 7Feb1950 when incorrectly locked front wavescreen failed and water flooded the aircraft, pilot PLT3 J J Shrubsail. RTS at Wellington 24Jun1950 and sold for scrap on site.
NZ4051 at Hobsonville
On the wharf at Wellington, recovered after the crash of 7Feb1950
Following are from National Library of New Zealand. (~30 pics on the subject)
The first one is an enlargment of the recovered wreckage on the pontoon at Shelley Bay