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Old 09-06-13, 06:35
Danielle Burns Danielle Burns is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Australia
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Default Catalina Flying Boats - Pacific 1945

I've been researching my father in law's John (Jack) Burns service history with RAAF 47 OBU & 84 OBU. His records are filled with codes and he never stayed on one base for very long but on a recent visit to the AWM in Canberra discovered that may be because he followed these aircraft as maintenance crew in PNG, Singapore and Borneo during August - October 1945.

Just hoping to gather as much information as I can to document this for the family history and I've noticed that your blog sometimes refers these units as well as the Catalina aircraft.

I would appreciate any photos, links or information your members (ie Mike Cecil of Washington?) may be able to provide.

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Old 09-06-13, 07:06
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Keith Webb Keith Webb is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Macleod, Victoria, Australia
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Default RAAF Aircrew

Hi Danielle

I've spent the past 10 years interviewing RAAF aircrew from WW2 and may be able to help.

Send me a PM
Film maker

42 FGT No8 (Aust) remains
42 FGT No9 (Aust)
42 F15
Keith Webb
Macleod, Victoria Australia
Also Canadian Military Pattern Vehicles group on Facebook
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Old 09-06-13, 20:56
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Colbert, Washington, USA
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Hi Danielle,

Keith is a mine of RAAF info, so the best person to make contact with regarding your project if you have not already done so. I assume you have looked up the Unit histories in the RAAF's concise history series? From what you have said, he was possibly one of those that was re-assigned to 84 OBU on Morotai Island from 47 OBU on the disbandment of the latter unit on Labuan Island in Nov 1945. Neither of these Base Units appear to have been specifically assigned to look after PBY5A Catalinas.

You refer to 'codes' in his service history, I assume you mean the usual abbreviations that such files are always full of. If you can provide me with his service number, I'd be able to look up his service dossier and possibly assist you with the meanings. Contact me either via a PM or this thread if you'd like some assistance.

Mike C
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Old 10-06-13, 11:09
Lang Lang is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,560


As Mike says the "codes" are more than likely to be abbreviations. All airfields had abreviation "codes" similar to today when you book a ticket to any destination in the world.

As well as that, the military is full of official and unofficial "codes" for anything from butter to battleships and, if you let us know of some which are stumping you, the ex-service members and non-serving enthusiasts will probably crack those codes for you.

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Old 25-06-13, 06:58
motto motto is offline
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Location: Woodend,Victoria,Australia
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Default Flying boats / amphibians. Two different critters.

Unless I'm mistaken, most if not all PBYs operated by the RAAF were of the flying boat variety and had no landing gear.
This meant that they didn't operate from airfields as such but seaplane bases and sheltered waterways.

Hell no! I'm not that old!
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Old 25-06-13, 08:07
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Location: Colbert, Washington, USA
Posts: 2,230

Hi Dave,

According to Stewart Wilson's 'Catalina, Neptune and Orion in Aust Service', only 29 of the 168 PBY (and Canadian built PB2Bs) delivered to the RAAF were converted from amphibians to flying boats by removal of the undercarriage, etc, and that program not commencing until 1944. The conversion took about 1500 man hours to complete. Once converted, they were re-designated PBY-5A(M).

Mike C
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