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Old 26th July 2018, 20:05
Brian Brian is offline
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F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Hi guys

Charles McCormac described his incredible adventures following his escape from Singapore in his book "You'll Die in Singapore".

After six months on the run, he and a companion were plucked from the coast of Sumatra by an RAAF Catalina and flown to Darwin, on 16 September 1942.
I understand that the Catalina was on a supply delivery run.

Do we know that name of the Catalina pilot?

How often were such missions flown to Sumatra (and Java?)


Cheers
Brian
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Old 28th July 2018, 15:14
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Brian,


The RAAF had two Catalina squadrons at that time: No. 11 and No. 20.
Perhaps their 09/42 ORBs can shed some light.



Is the type of the escape plane mentioned in the book or just "seaplane"?


Regards,


Leendert
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Old 28th July 2018, 16:21
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

It seems to me that 11 and 20 Sqn were busy at the time in New Guinea/Solomon area. A quick check of their ORB (available online) show no activity in NEI area for both units (but I may have missed a detachment not located chronogically in the ORB file).

Two other possibilities:
1) a RAF Catalina coming from Ceylon/India ?
2) an ex Dutch aircraft flying with Australian or Dutch/Australian crew from Australia.
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Old 28th July 2018, 18:39
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Hi Leendert and Laurent

Thanks for your comments.

In his book, McCormac mentions only been picked up by a seaplane on a re-supplying mission, and that at least one Australian was on board. Not very helpful nor informative. I may have boobed in stating RAAF Catalina! An assumption!

Leendert: I sent you a PM some time ago.

Cheers
Brian
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Old 30th July 2018, 20:58
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Brian,


A totally different direction: one of the Qantas Empire Airways Short seaplanes?
They did the Tjilaptjap (now Cilacap) to Broome run in Feb 1942, but I have no idea if they were still used for Java flights in Sept 1942...


Regards,


Leendert
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Old 5th August 2018, 13:15
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Unlikely to have been a QEA flying-boat, as the Short C/G Class were "borrowed" by the RAAF (33 Sqn) at this stage, and this quick summary from ADF-Serials does not indicate any rescued personnel.
http://www.adf-serials.com.au/resear...lyingboats.pdf

The supply flights from Ceylon to Australia (otherwise named the Flights of the Double Sunrise) would have been carrying urgent passengers/mail/etc and flying at extreme range. Would a captain have endangered his aircraft and crew/pax/cargo for an open sea rescue landing? I think (but my opinion only) unlikely.

No mention of open sea rescues in No11 or No20 Sqn RAAF ORBs (freely available as electronic files on the National Archives Australia website) for August-October 1942. No mention of any USN PatWing 10 involvement in the books I have to hand - but they may have been busy a bit further to the East over Guadalcanal.

One other possibility is RAAF-operated ex-Dutch Do24 flying boats, used as transports.

Trying to be helpful, but probably failing utterly,
...geoff
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Last edited by bearoutwest; 5th August 2018 at 13:16. Reason: Too many line-spaces!
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Old 5th August 2018, 14:02
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

No41 Sqn RAAF was operating the two Short S23 and the three Dornier Do24s - well, technically on their books. The Dorniers were undergoing extensive servicing, modification and refurbishment in late 1942, and not available until late 1943 as transports. 41 Sqns ORB is digitally available on the National Archives Australia website.

Again, there is no mention of any sea rescues in Aug, Sep or Oct 1942 - although sufficient detail is given to recovery of bodies from a crashed Beaufort in Oct 1942.

No9 Sqn RAAF is the only other flying boat squadron available in 1942, but flying A2s (i.e. RAAF designation for Seagull V/Walrus amphibians). No mention of any cargo/supply runs into the Sumatra area for this squadron - only target towing and local supply runs.

...geoff
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Old 5th August 2018, 21:01
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

There is an acount of McCormac's escape here, see "The Longest Escape".

https://books.google.com/books?id=Gs...aplane&f=false

I don't know how close this account follows his book, it may be taken directly from it.
Even with one page missing from this "preview", this account does say a "Catalina".
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Old 6th August 2018, 09:09
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Another snippet of information, from the book "Challenging Horizons: QANTAS 1939-54", on pages 105-106; linked below, and screen-capture of pages attached.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id...page&q&f=false

Appears that No321 Squadron RAF (actually a Dutch operated squadron) was flying Catalinas from Ceylon to Perth on a semi-regular basis in late (November) 1942. Perhaps this is the squadron in question that did the rescue off Sumatra/Java on a regular patrol but diverted to Broome or Darwin after the rescue?

...geoff
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File Type: jpg 321 Sqn (RAF-NEI)_QANTAS-p105-6.jpg (138.4 KB, 8 views)
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Last edited by bearoutwest; 6th August 2018 at 09:12. Reason: Re-phrasing for clarity.
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Old 20th August 2018, 12:48
BrianC BrianC is offline
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Re: F/Sgt Charles McCormac's rescue by RAAF Catalina 16/9/42

Hi guys

Thanks for your respective contributions.

Just to add to the mystery - I've located a copy of the original hard-back version of 'You'll Die in Singapore' -

Page 204:
Two bright, staring eyes approached rapidly, then flicked off as the dark bulk of the SUNDERLAND drew near us, the white curl of sea writhing away from its hull ... There was a chink of metal from the side of the aircraft, a door opened and a man in khaki shorts leaned out. An Australian voice cut across the velvety waters ... Are you the two fellows we're taking back? He asked.


So, it wasn't a Catalina after all (McCormac would have obviously known the type) and unlikely to have been a Do24.

Over to the experts, once again.

Cheers
Brian
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