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Thread: Book: "Catalina Chronicle" by David Vincent

  1. #1
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    May 2014
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    Default Book: "Catalina Chronicle" by David Vincent

    Hi all,

    The idea of re-printing David Vincent's book "Catalina Chronicle" was mentioned in the TOCH thread on RAAF Black Cats, linked below:

    This is what I mentioned then:
    "As an aside, as part of the enjoyable rambling aviation/seaplanes phone conversation with the RCMPA president (he answered the phone), I highlighted the apparent interest people have in the "Catalina Chronicles" book by David Vincent. RCMPA are looking into the possibilities of arranging for it to be re-printed. (Though, don't hold your breathe, as it may be a long winded process getting the appropriate authorization to re-print.) Will report if/when any further developments occur."

    Since then, a great deal has happened quickly. The Rathmines-Catalina people have been in contact with David Vincent (BTW, he recently - a few years ago - released his two book series on the RAAF Hudson Story). It was suggested that the first step would be to gain a better idea of how much "real" interest there is from people wanting to buy a copy, so to that end I will ask the question here.

    How many of you, here on RF Command Forums, would be interested in purchasing a reprint copy of "Catalina Chronicles" by David Vincent? For discussion purposes - let's say the price is AUD 50.00 - not including postage. The final cost will be subject to confirmation once the estimate of numbers is better known, and more detailed discussion can be had as to what sort of re-print paper-book format.

    If you are interested, please send an e-mail in response to:
    Mr Bill Anderson
    President of the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association (RCMPA):

    Or follow the contact details on the RCMPA web-page:

    I would advise NOT to send any money, as this is still early in the discussion, but please contact Bill Anderson to register your interest.


    (Hopefully, this doesn't transgress any forum rules of use.)

  2. #2
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    May 2014
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    On another forum, I was asked for more details on the original book. So for those of you who would also like more details, I will add this:

    First - The Disclosure:
    I am not associated commercially with the author David Vincent or the Rathmines-Catalina Association. I do not stand to gain fiscally from this enterprise. (Not even a free book, as I already have a copy from the original print run.)

    Second - Some Random Web-info on the original book: "Catalina Chronicle"

    Third - A Short Review of "Catalina Chronicle"
    - my copy is noted 1st edition, and acquired second hand but still in fine/very good condition.
    - size is about the same as the regular hardback aviation history texts (think Fonthill or Grubb Street publications) but a little wider. Dimensions are 185mm wide x 245mm tall.
    - content layout is "bookazine" in manner, with pages of text and photographs/illustrations imbedded together.
    - Table of Contents:
    Chp.1 1939-41 (starts p.8)
    Chp.2 1942 (p.14)
    Chp.3 1943 (p.30)
    Chp.4 1944 (p.50)
    Chp.5 1945 (p.75)
    Chp.6 1946-58 (p.93)
    Bibliography (p.104)
    Appendices (p.106)

    App.1 Catalina Family Tree (p.106)
    App.2 RAAF Catalina Summary (i.e. RAAF Serial & fate) (p.107)
    App.3 "Those Who Lost Their Lives" (p.120)
    App.4 Aircraft Performance During the Minelaying Campaign (p.123)
    App.5 General Hints Concerning Catalinas, As Prepared By Instructors at No3 OTU (p.124-125)

    Each of the main chapters begins with a paragraph or two of the general context of the war, before moving on to detailing the RAAF Catalina operations in date order. (If you're looking for a feel of the writing style, think of the Christopher Shores/Brian Cull efforts in the earlier days with Grubb Street Publications.)

    There's no date mark in my copy, but the National Library of Australia website notes the book being published in 1978.
    As an "early" work, some of the details are a little dated, and in some cases sparse. Certainly other books deal with specific areas in greater depth and with updated detail. However, in my oppinion, this is still the only book that details RAAF Cat operations as an overview, covering the entire war period and immediate post-war (Chp.6 1946-58).

    Other of my books which cover specific areas or perspectives of RAAF Catalina operations:
    - RAAF Black Cats (Robert Cleworth, 2019) - minelaying operations & Reg Cleworth's perspective (Author's brother)
    - The Night Shift (Robert Cleworth, 2015) - RAAF minelaying operations, expanded from Author's masters thesis, contains more operational details and weapons type diagrams than the later 'RAAF Black Cats'
    - Lake Boga At War (Brett Freeman, 1995) - life and operations from the "Secret Base" at Lake Boga; a service and maintenance base for flying boats in general, and Catalinas specifically, situated well away from Japanese bomber range
    - That's That (Robert Honan, 1989) - a wartime memoir, centre 40% of book covers Author's time with Catalina squadrons.
    - Catalina Dreaming (Andrew McMillan, 2002) - a compilation of RAAF wartime Catalina operations
    - Catalina, Neptune & Orion in Australian Service (Stewart Wilson, 1991) - a bookazine, part of a series, this volume covers procurement history, technical details, wartime operation summary, postwar use and a RAAF serial summary (Catalina section covers pp.11-66).

    Other books on RAAF Catalinas:
    - Cats at war : the story of RAAF Catalinas in the Asia-Pacific theatre of war (Coral Gaunt and Robert Cleworth, 2000) - compilation of RAAF Catalina operations
    - Black Cats (A.E. Minty, ?date) - compilation of RAAF Catalina operations
    There will be a number of other books (which I am yet unaware of, or which I don't have at hand).

    So, that's my snapshot of "Catalina Chronicles" and where it fits in around a number of other publications on RAAF Catalina wartime operations.

    Hope this is of some use,

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