Beaufort Mk VIII Bomber A9-557: 100 Squadron RAAF

Accession Number REL/20173
Collection type Technology
Object type Aircraft
Physical description Alloy, Linen, Metal, Perspex, Rubber
Place made Australia
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Beaufort Mk VIII twin engined, mid wing monoplane bomber of all metal monocoque construction. The mainplane is a two spar stressed skin cantilever structure tapered in chord and thickness. It is constructed in three portions, the port and the starboard outer planes with detachable tips and the centre plane through the fuselage, which is bolted to it. The fin and the tailplane are cantilever structures mainly of alclad, and the rudder, elevators, and ailerons have a duralumin tubular spar, alclad ribs, and a fabric covering. Alclad sheet is employed in the fuselage, with alclad lipped channel and Z section formers and lipped extruded hiduminium angle section stringers. Designed for performing torpedo attack, aerial bombing and general reconnaissance missions. A crew of four are carried, comprising pilot, navigator/bomb aimer, wireless operator and tail gunner. The aircraft has been painted in green and dark earth camouflage on the upper surfaces and pale blue on the undersurfaces to reflect its wartime service with 100 Squadron serving at Tadji, Papua New Guinea in 1944 and 1945.

History / Summary

Type information: 4 (Pilot, Navigator/Bomb aimer, 2 Wireless operator/Air Gunners); Powerplant: Two CAC-built Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-S3C4G 14 cylinder air cooled two row radial engines. De Havilland (Aust) Curtis Electric three bladed fully feathering propellers; Armament: Two gimbal-mounted 0.303in Vickers GO guns in nose. Two 0.303in Browning machine guns in hydraulically operated Bristol B.1 Mk V dorsal turret. Single 0.303in Browning machine gun in each wing. Two beam-mounted .303in Vickers GO guns and a .303in roof-mounted gun forward of turret. Two x 500lb or 4 x 250lb bombs internally, or one 21in (52cm) torpedo semi-internally plus 250lb bombs on underwing racks. It is believed that A9-557 never carried torpedo equipment.

Details of damage to A9-557 as recorded on a/c History card: ran off strip and collided with M/T vehicles and wood and iron building vicinity Tadji. A/c 40% (R), Port Airscrew 60% (R), Port Wing 60% (R), Port undercarriage 70% (R), S/b airscrew 40% (R), Starboard wing (U), S/b undercarriage 60% (R), Fuselage front 60% (R), Fuselage Rear 50%, Centre section 60% (R), Instrument panel 5% (R), Remainder of A/c (U), airframe and engines repairable. 23/1/45 : A/c allotted to 12 RSU (Tadji) ex. 100 Sqn. Approval subsequently given for A/c (airframe) conversion. 1974 : A9-557 found together with other RAAF Beauforts at Tadji, and exported via Lae to Romsey, VIC by Mr Ian Whitney. On paper the a/c was loaned to the RAAF Museum, Point Cook but was not actually sent there. c1990 : Acquired by Mr Robert Greinert and transported to Sydney briefly, before being acquired by the AWM as part of an exchange agreement. Road transported to AWM store, Mitchell.

Nose of Beaufort A9-461 acquired for attachment to A9-557. History of A9-461: Operational missions whilst with 7 Squadron RAAF: With 7 Sqn during periods 17/12/1943 to 5/3/1944 and 10/6/1944 to 15/11/1944. 7 Sqn locations during these periods Ross River / Horn Island (Detachment) / Higgins / Tadji, New Guinea. Completed 47 operational missions with 7 Sqn, (sea/reconnaissance patrols including 6 strikes (4 from Tadji). F/O G.M. Smylie and crew flew A9-461 on 27 sorties (including the six strikes). On 12/11/1944, A9-461 flown by F/O Smylie carried out a search from Tadji of Area C, but returned after 1 hour flying, due to engine trouble. On return from the above sortie, crashed at the end of strip at Tadji as a result of engine failure when attempting a second circuit. F/O Smylie and his crew did not suffer any injuries. Summary of damage to A9-461 : Port airscrew 60% (R), Port wing 50% (R), Port U/carriage 60% (R), Port Flap outer 75% (W), remainder of a/c (U). A./c damaged beyond economic repair. 16/11/1944 : recommended conversion of airframe, engine repairable. Conversion approved. (Ref : A/c History card).