Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 7, 2019 11:49:52 GMT 12
An interesting and sad story, I wonder what type of aircraft this was. From the NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 10 NOVEMBER 1945:
HUSBAND GOING BLIND
AMERICAN'S WAR BRIDE
ADMIRAL'S PLANE SENT
So that an American sailor may have an opportunity to see his New Zealand wife and two small children before he loses his eyesight, a United States admiral has sent his own aeroplane to New Zealand. The plane, which has been made available by Admiral Paul Hendren, commander of the South Pacific area, whose headquarters are in New Caledonia, has arrived at Whenuapai.
The sailor, Mr William Hamrich Bingham, is in a hospital at Charleston, South Carolina, and threatened with total blindness. His wife, who was formerly Miss Iris West, is living in Wellington with their two children. The plane, which is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Davidson, is being held at Whenuapai until advice is received that Mrs Bingham and her children may leave for America. Certain formalities have to be completed before this will be possible.
Dave, May possibly have been a Liberator (PB4Y in US Navy) which would have been appropriate for a theatre commander at that time, although the South Pacific Command itself was largely non-functional from about mid-1944 when it was considered that any enemy forces still remaining in that theatre were incapable of taking any offensive action and could consequently be worn down and eventually eliminated by residual forces (including RNZAF). I have seen Admiral Hendren mentioned before in relation to New Zealand - he may have come to New Zealand shortly after the war, aboard a cruiser, but could be my memory playing tricks again! David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 8, 2019 1:24:40 GMT 12
Found it, it was a Catalina! From the EVENING POST, 24 Nov 1945
BOUND FOR U.S.A.
MRS. BINGHAM IN AUCKLAND
P.A. AUCKLAND. This Day.
Mrs. Bingham, wife of William H. Bingham, ship's cook of the United States Navy, arrived with two children from Wellington by train this morning. Tomorrow she will leave Whenuapai in a special PBY aircraft placed at her disposal by Admiral Paul Hendren, Commander of the South Pacific Area, on the first leg of her journey to America, where her husband is in hospital suffering from a serious eye infection.
Mrs. Bingham, who is not yet 20, was met at the station today by an officer of the United States Joint Purchasing Board, the pilot of the plane, and a naval nurse. Accommodation in Auckland until tomorrow has been provided at the Americans' expense, and on the air trip the children will be cared for by the nurse, while special food has also been provided. "I'm longing to see Bill, and we hope all of us will be back again in New Zealand soon," said Mrs. Bingham.
USS Vincennes (CL64) Cleveland-class light cruiser:
In September 1945 Vincennes participated in Operation "Magic Carpet" following her refresher training, sailing between Pearl Harbour and the west coast as a transport for returning sailors and Marines. She continued her "Magic Carpet" assignment by sailing for the South Pacific that autumn, reaching Noumea, New Caledonia to become the flagship for Rear Admiral Paul Hendren, Commander, South Pacific Area Force. On 25 October, the ship got underway to take Rear Admiral Hendren on an inspection tour of facilities at Guadalcanal, in the Russells, at Tulagi, at Espiritu Santo and Efate, returning to Nouméa on 5 November. During the course of that brief voyage, the ship passed near the spot where her namesake had gone down that furious night of combat on 8 and 9 August 1942 in the Battle of Savo Island. Vincennes subsequently made two trips to New Zealand waters before returning home with 300 veterans embarked as passengers. Discharging them at San Francisco upon her arrival on 23 March 1946, the light cruiser sped to Mare Island where workmen soon commenced deactivating the ship. Decommissioned on 10 September 1946, Vincennes never returned to active service with the Fleet.
Lots of news articles here about the visits to Auckland and Wellington in November 1945 and January 1946:
The 1944 photographs show Vought OS2U Kingfisher aircraft carried aft, and as stated above the 1945 photos have Curtis SC-1 Seahawk floatplanes. However I can see why some people could mistake the wing planform of the Seahawk for a Grumman, with squared off tips and a distinct inner section, with angled up outer panels (otherwise known as dihedral). However Grumman did not make any such floatplanes like that, although was there not a floatplane version of the F4F Wildcat (probably a one-off)? David D