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Thread: 413 Squadron Catalina lost on April 9, 1942

  1. #11
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    Hi
    In 2013 a fisherman from the east coast of Sri Lanka (near Batticaloa south of Trincomalee) found a strange piece of wreckage in his fishing net. I got to know about this and contacted him and he provided me the location where he found it. After conducting a sonar scan I found a signature and dived the site. I was amazed to see wreckage of an aircraft. There two wings, two engines and propellers and two wheels. I am now reasonably sure that this is a consolidated Catalina.
    I am doing research on Catalina crashes trying to see if any Catalina was reported down in the location when I came across flight Lieutenant Thomas's incident. Would anyone know the location of the crash?


    pictures of the wreckage can be seen at www.facebook.com/divesrilanka


    dharshana jayawardena
    diver

  2. #12
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    Dharshana,
    It is a bit of a worry that you found two wheels - this very early Catalina was a pure flying boat in that it had no wheels (although beaching units with large dual wheels were attached to these aircraft for towing them ashore up slipways should this be necessary for major repairs or routine major inspections). These beaching unit wheels were quite large, but were definitely NOT carried aboard Catalinas as a matter of course because of their size and weight. Thus if the wheels you have found are of any great size, then it is most likely that what you have found is NOT a Catalina (or if it is, it is a much later amphibious Catalina which had permanent land undercarriage units). I think further investigation is required into this wreck, firstly to confirm that it is NOT a Catalina, than the difficult task of trying to identify just exactly what it is! This could take some time, depending on the state of disintegration of the wreck. Identification of engines and propellers is always a good start, as this can usually identify the nationality, but be warned - certain types of engines and propellers were produced under license in foreign countries, such as American Hamilton Standard props, which were widely produced in the UK and Japan, and much the same comments apply to a great deal of other hardwear such as guns, instruments, autopilots, starter motors and generators, carburettors, etc.
    David D

  3. #13
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    Hi David,
    thank you for the valuable information. Will do more research based on your input.
    The wheel is not large and it is identical in shape, design to that found in this picture.
    Also on every other spoke there is a protrusion(or nut) that is also seen in Catalina wheels.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conso...s_Mar_1943.jpg

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    Dharshana,

    Could I suggest you try posting your photos and story on the Key Publishing forum at http://forum.keypublishing.com/forum...toric-Aviation . The forum is well-known for this type of query and I'm sure they could add to the advice offered by David. However, it might be useful if you could include a more general photo of the scene (visibility permitting) to give some idea of the size of the wreckage and, if any are visible through the marine growth, any reference numbers of metal fittings (probably wishful thinking on my part).

    Brian

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    Thank you Brian and everyone else. Will pursue that avenue as well.

    Just for your viewing - here is a small video I shot at the scene. (this was my first dive there, and I was so surprised to find an aircraft, I wasn't really looking through the view finder, just holding the camera while I was swimming.
    So the footage is not very good).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSSb2-Ebp9k

    Also note what appears to be the frame for an engine bay and also other parts which can also be found in some old catalina pictures- Especially this.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conso...s_Mar_1943.jpg

  6. #16
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    Dharshana,

    If the aircraft you found proves to be a Catalina, it's certainly not the one lost on 9 April 1942, since that one was shot down in the vicinity of the Japanese carrier task force, which was about 180 NM east of Trincomalee at the time. Your wreck is too close to the shore to be the same one.

    Rob

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    Dharshana,

    I'm just wondering if your wreck might be the XI Squadron Blenheim Mark IV, serial number V5592, of Squadron Leader Ault. He led the nine Blenheims which attacked the Japanese task force to the east of Trincomalee on 9 April 1942. Four of the nine Blenheims were shot down by Zeros in the vicinity of the Japanese ships. The other five Blenheims got away but four of them then ran into three of the Zeros which had been escorting the dive-bombers which sank Hermes off Batticaloa and Ault was shot down, out of sight of the other Blenheims. A straight line course from the location of the Japanese task force to Colombo, where XI Squadron was based, passes close to Batticaloa. Also, in the illustration at http://users.skynet.be/lostplanes.ne...n/image002.gif of a Blenheim the wheel and tire look similar to the one in your video.

    Anyone else think it might be a Blenheim?

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    Hello again Dharshana,

    Were you by any chance able to estimate the wingspan of your wreck or the length of the fuselage? For our two candidate types the figures are as follows:

    Blenheim: wingspan 56 ft 4 in (17.17 m), length 42 ft 7 in (12.98 m)

    PBY-5A: wingspan: 104 ft 0 in (31.70 m), length: 63 ft 10 in (19.46 m)

    As you can see, there is a big difference in size between the two, with the wingspan of the PBY being almost twice that of a Blenheim.

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    Hello All,

    That certainly looks like a PBY-5A mainwheel.

    Robert

  10. #20
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    Hi Rob,
    I counted "imaginary" feet while I was swimming and came up with about 50 feet on one side. Also I didn't start dead center of the wing, from more twoards the wing tip. However, this is not very scientific and I will try measuring with a reel the next time. However, the engine doesn't seem a match. I counted 14 pistons, 7 overlayed on another 7. The Blenheim seem to have only 9 pistons. Also the wheel doesn't seem to match with fewer spokes. The Catalina wheel matches very well both inside and out to the wheels found at the wreck.
    Kind Regards
    Dharshana

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