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Thread: 413 Squadron Catalina lost on April 9, 1942

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    The Blenheim had the Bristol Mercury nine-cylinder single-row radial and the Catalina had the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp two-row 14-cylinder radial, so it’s not a Blenheim. The Twin Wasp was used by a variety of other twin-enginged aircraft (see, including the Beaufort, some of which were based in Ceylon for a while (see, but the Beaufort’s wingspan was only a foot and a half greater than the Blenheim’s, so your wreck is probably too small to be a Beaufort.

    Since your wreck is probably not Ault’s Blenheim, it might be the Dutch Navy PBY-5A Y-78, lost on 9 December 1943 due to engine failure. (Sources:, and

    There is also the following in Dutch, from

    De Y-78 amphibie verloor men in november 1943. Het vliegtuig steeg op van Minneriya, een R.A.F.-station in het midden van Ceylon, voor een verkenningsvlucht van achttien uren. Ongeveer anderhalf uur na de start weigerde één der motoren. Het vliegtuig vloog toen vrij laag boven het water en de piloot moest, midden in de nacht, een noodlanding uitvoeren. Ondanks deze beroerde omstandigheden zette hij zijn "Cat" op het water, zonder persoonlijke ongelukken te maken. Na een uur zonk evenwel de Y-78. De bemanning was ernstig gehandicapt, want zij moest gebruik maken van één "dinghy" (rubberboot) - met elf man. De andere "dinghy" was namelijk tijdens de landing overboord geraakt en verdwenen. Tachtig kilometer ten Zuiden van China Bay, bij Batticaloa, bereikte men ten slotte veilig de kust.

    Google Translate gives us the following rough translation:

    The Y-78 amphibian lost one in November 1943, the plane took off from Minneriya, an RAF station in the middle of Ceylon, for a reconnaissance flight of eighteen hours. Approximately one and a half hours after the start refused one of the engines. The plane flew quite low over the water and the pilot had to, perform an emergency landing in the middle of the night. Despite these appalling conditions he put his "Cat" on the water without making. Personal risk However, after one hour sank the Y-78. The crew was severely handicapped because they had to use a "dinghy" (dinghy) - with eleven men. The other "dinghy" was in fact lost overboard during landing and disappeared. Eighty kilometers south of China Bay, near Batticaloa, they finally reached the shore safely.

    So maybe it’s Y-78.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Hi Rob,

    Your information is amazing and valuable. This is indeed a high probability since the air craft is actually a PBY-5A and also the wreck I found is about 80 KM south east of China Bay, Trincomalee!
    I am very glad that there were not casualties too.

    "For the dinghy to be lost overboard during landing" - I guess that would indicate a very rough landing that could damage or crack the plane seriously?
    It could explain the quite strange crash site where the wings, engines, propeller and the undercarriage is in one location of the sea and the body somewhere else yet to be found. I hope to find that soon as soon as the sea is calm enough.

    November is indeed the startof the monsoon in the East Coast where the wreck is. A sea landing in November could have been very very rough again explaining

    Thank you again - you have been tremendously helpful.
    I will see if there is any evidence in the wreck to point to this direction.


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