Darwin divers find WW2 US Navy PBY wreck

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, May 30, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Darwin divers find WW2 US Navy wreck

    Updated May 30, 2008 18:59:55

    In Australia's north, divers working for a Japanese gas company have
    found the wreckage of a US Navy Catalina flying boat from the second
    world war.

    It's the last of six American Catalinas wrecks to be found in Darwin
    Harbour.

    Japanese resource company Inpex is surveying the seabed in Darwin
    Harbour for a proposed gas plant.

    A Darwin based dive team were in the East Arm area when they found
    the underground wreck.

    Diver Sue Sultana was the first on the scene, 18 metres below the
    surface.

    "Sticking up a few metres off the seabed was all the framework for
    that," she said.

    "So that's pretty unusual."

    The divers said they knew immediately that they'd found the Catalina.

    Its location has been mystery for 66 years.

    US Catalinas were brought to Darwin during the Second World War.

    This is one of three struck during air raids in 1942.

    The Territory government says the site will now be considered for
    heritage listing.

    © 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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  2. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Does that mean they won't try to salvage it ?

    Charles
     
  3. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    One of those PBYs was being flown by a young officer who later became the CNO, name of Moorer, I believe.
     
  4. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    its in salt water which corrodes it badly so its kinda pointless :cry:
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Lt Thomas Moorer's PBY of Patrol Wing 22 was the first a/c shot down in the raid when he was attacked by 9 Zero's. I believe all his crew survived the attack and forced landing. I don't think he put down in the Harbour, so it's probably not his a/c.
    PatWing 10 lost 3 PBY's when they were strafed on the water in Darwin Harbour during the Feb 19 raid.
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Thanks WC, good info. I was not sure about the whereabouts of his ditching.
     
  7. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    Moorer at Darwin is an interesting story. His a/c took off from there early morning of Feb 19 1942 on routine patrol to Ambon 675 miles away. It ran into the main airstrike from the Japanese carriers headed to Darwin, 50 miles off Melville Island. The PBY reported 9 Zeroes attacked, but from the Japanese side just one peeled off from the formation to actually attack, that of PO1c Y Nagahama of Kaga's fighter sdn. Having downed the flying boat (wounding 4) Nagahama missed the inbound rendezvous and arrived over Darwin before any other Japanese a/c. He sighted and attacked the P-40 patrol of 5 a/c, downing 3 outright and another was wrecked on crashlanding, pilot WIA, back at base. Many pilots have been credited with achieving 'ace in a day' but relatively rarer are those cases where opposing accounts unambiguously confirm it. Nagahama also claimed a PBY destroyed on the water; Hiryu Zeroes claimed 2 more and strafing Soryu divebombers a fourth, v. 3 Patwing 10 a/c actually lost on the water.

    Moorer's crew was rescued by the Philippine merchant ship Florence D. which was cutting across the Timor Sea from the DEI on a blockade running mission to the Philippines. But later in the day she was attacked and sunk by Hiryu divebombers; this time one of Moorer's crew was killed. The rest eventually reached land to be rescued by the corvette HMAS Warrnambool which was then also attacked, by a Japanese flying boat, but reached Darwin safely, a few days later.

    Joe
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Great story folks - Moorer was actually with VP-22. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 91.
     
  9. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Good info Joe, especially from the Japanese side of things.
     
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