Peter Cook, the military historian is researching the lists of war trophies that were brought back from various oversea enterprises and their fate in NZ. I will ask him what he has on aircraft. Hope to see him on Sun 28th when he is guiding a visit to Fort Ballance in Wellington. One of the two coastal defence forts still in NZDF hands.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 25, 2008 21:27:08 GMT 12
Going back to Bruce's mention of the Catalina bits near Pirongia, I just refound an old article from the Waikato Times dated the 6th of April 1988. I'll retype it here:
"Cat Among The Kiwifruit
Pieces of New Zealand's history may be holding up a little bit of Pirongia. Air Force Warrant Officer 'Smokey' Dawson is restoring a World War II Catalina flying boat at the Whenuapai air base. Unfortunately a large number of pieces are missing - and Mr Dawson thinks they are holding up kiwifruit vines in Pirongia.
Most of New Zealand's 56 Catalinas were brought by train, "for some reason", to the Waikato and broken up.
"People grabbed them for all sorts of reasons. They wanted bits of aluminium, they wanted anything," Mr Dawson said.
The Catalinas were used for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine and search and rescue sorties throughout the South Pacific during World War II.
The Catalina Mr Dawson is rebuilding was used to transport gamblers between Hong Kong and Macao, after the war, and then saw service with Trans Australian Airlines in New Guinea.
It was beached in Papua New Guinea and used by the local airport authority for fire drill before returning to New Zealand in 1978.
Mr Dawson needs any pieces he can get to complete the restoration. "We need mainly the interior trim bits. Food lockers, floor walkways, bomb controls and all the panels," Mr Dawson said.
The parts do not have to be in good condition. Steam cleaning and elbow grease could improve their condition to exhibit standard.
Any person with Catalina parts propping up crops or taking up space on farms is asked to contact Mr Dawson at Whenuapai."
I wonder if they got any response to this article, which also had a photo of the Catalina hull inside a hangar. Which hangar was it being restored in? I only saw it on the Hobby wet apron before it went to Wigram. Does anyone know what W/O Smojey Dawson's first name was?
The Hopuhopu swamp/lake use to be a military collectors dream. I have found 303's, Bren Gun parts, WW1 Machine gun, WW2 Machine guns, mines, grenades, tools, mortar bombs, artillery rounds but only one aircraft item. a small aircraft bomb.
It is the white one sitting with the 3 inch mortar bombs.
Great to see the photo of the Liberator crashed at Whenuapai, Shorty. Just as a matter of interest the RNZAF accident report lists it as T979 not T379 (No doubt a typing error). On another matter, their was another Liberator EW620 that was damaged in a taxy accident at Whenuapai in January 1945. I dont know if this was repaired or not but their was a wing supposed to be off a Liberator beside the hangar that used to hold all the Motat stuff at Ardmore for years. Anyone know any fate of this particular one.
The liberator wing is probably the same one that was seen beside MOTAT's hangar at Ardmore as Barry East who worked for MOTAT at the time was a good friend of my fathers. alot of this stuff went to MOTAT, other bits and pieces went to people that needed it. The white practice bomb was more than likely smoke, i cant remember what happened to it, we may have even left it there in the swamp. these are a very common bomb and can be found at most gun shows for sale.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 5, 2008 14:54:12 GMT 12
I do know of the sound of an explosion around Northland that was heard in several towns and so big the RNZAF scrambled to check out the reports, but found nothing. but this was earlier I think. I can check out the exact date if you want.
There was a Hudson blown up at Waiapapakauri at a similar time - crashed on takeoff with depth charges aboard. the twisted remains of an exhaust manifold are on display in the Kaitaia museum. Possibly the liberator story is a distortion of that? after all both aircraft have twin fins....
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...