Lockheed Hudson Mk IV bomber A16-105 : 1 Operational Training Unit, RAAF

Accession Number REL28674
Collection type Technology
Object type Aircraft
Physical description Aluminium, Paint, Perspex, Rubber, Steel
Place made United States of America: California, Los Angeles County, Burbank
Date made 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Lockheed Hudson IV twin engined, twin tail, all metal multi-role monoplane aircraft. The aircraft is currently undergoing long term conservation and restoration to return it to its wartime military configuration after it had been stripped of military equipment including armament and upper turret during the post-war period.

History / Summary

The American designed and built Lockheed Hudson is a significant aircraft in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It saw heavy use in RAAF service around the world in a diverse range of roles during the majority of the war between 1939 and 1945. From bombing to reconnaissance, air-sea rescue, transport, crew training and liaison it was one of the true work horses of the RAAF. It was a trail blazer in that it was the very first non-British designed aircraft to enter RAAF service.

This particular Lockheed Hudson aircraft was given the RAAF serial number A16-105 (USAAF serial 41-23175) and served as a training aircraft with 1 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Bairnsdale and East Sale, Victoria.

From December 1942 to January 1943 it flew operationally with a detachment from the OTU in New Guinea, carrying out supply flights to forward airfields during the Allied advance on Buna. The extremely hazardous flying conditions found in and around the Owen Stanley mountain range of Papua and New Guinea was compounded by the presence of highly trained and motivated Imperial Japanese Army and Naval air forces.

After returning safely to mainland Australia in January 1943, '105' resumed its important job of training and qualifying young RAAF aircrew on the Lockheed Hudson in Eastern Victoria.

After the Second World War it was converted into a non-military configuration and amongst its diverse civilian career flew as a photographic survey aircraft for Adastra. It was purchased by the Australian War Memorial in 2001 from Mr Malcolm Long.

A major project is underway to refit the aircraft back into its former military configuration. This complicated process involves the retrofitting of a number of wartime features of the aircraft including a rear facing 'tunnel gun' under the rear fuselage and the distinctive rounded Boulton-Paul turret to the top rear fuselage of the aircraft.