Aviation Historian 30
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P.Vabre - From Flying to Spying (1)
Kawanishi H6K2-L, with Japanese civil registration J-BFOY and named Sazanami, in Dili harbour during the third Japanese proving flight to Portuguese Timor in January 1941. The type was virtually unknown beyond Asia at the time, and it is likely that Ivan Hodder’s photographs of what would soon become an important enemy aircraft revealed the first evidence of its existence to the intelligence services of the British Empire.
During its December 1940 visit to Dili, the DCA working party was shown this splendid metal model of a Kawanishi H6K2-L, the type that completed the Japanese proving flights to Dili during late 1940 and early 1941. The model, photographed by the DCA party, had been presented as a gift to the Governor of Portuguese Timor.
Qantas made another diversion to Dili, on the Sydney-bound service NE45 on New Year’s Day 1941, to retrieve the DCA party, this time using S.23 G-AEUE Cameronian, seen here picking up the buoy after alighting at Groote Eylandt in late 1938. This Empire Flying Boat survived the war and was scrapped at Hythe in the UK in 1947.
Taken by DCA Radio Inspector Ivan Hodder, this photograph shows Cambria arriving at Dili on January 21, 1941, on the inaugural scheduled eastbound service, NE51.
Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat G-ADUW Castor made a diversion on westbound Horseshoe Route service WS47 on December 29, 1940, to bring a party of Australian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) officials to Dili. As well as negotiating an air service to Portuguese Timor, the party also had a secondary intelligence role, to gather information about the colony and the Japanese presence there.
Lacking a state-of-the-art transport aircraft of its own, in the late 1930s Australia’s Civil Aviation Branch chartered Guinea Airways’ Lockheed 10A Electra VH-AAU Salamaua for several tasks, including the flight-testing of Lorenz radio navigation beacons and the July 1939 survey flight to Dili. It is seen here at Adelaide-Parafield.