VH-ADU. Short S-23C Empire Flying Boat. c/n S.844.


Was the twenty-first Empire boat completed and flown by Short Brothers at Rochester, Kent

Order placed by Imperial Airways, London - September 2, 1935

Completed as a S-23 Empire Class boat having 920 h.p. Bristol Perseus XII engines

It had an all-up weight of 53,000 lb, cruised at 165 m.p.h. with a range of 760 miles

Entered onto U.K. Aircraft Register as G-AEUB (CofR 7676) - March 1, 1937

First flown as G-AEUB - September 11, 1937

Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) Issued - September 13, 1937

Delivered to Imperial Airways, London - September 13, 1937

Aircraft named 'Camilla'

Operated inaugural Southampton - Sydney service (Captain E. S. Alcock) - June 26, 1938

Operated inaugural Sydney - Southampton Empire Air Mail Service (Captain L. J. Brain) - August 4, 1938

Imperial Airways merged to form British Overseas Airways Corporation - April 1, 1940

Ownership officially transferred to British Airways - August 22, 1940

Survived a Japanese aerial attack on Darwin Harbour by flying to Groote Eylandt - February 24, 1942

Flight crew: Captains Crowther, W. Hussey

Escaped being destroyed at Broome during a Japanese air-raid by delaying its arrival - March 3, 1942

Aircraft had 30 cm of wingtip torn-off by refueling barge at Broome - March 3, 1942

Flight crew: Captain E. C. Sims

Damage considered minor and aircraft continued schedule operations before return to Sydney for repairs

Isolated in Australia when Japanese advancement cut the Horseshoe Route

Exchanged for Qantas Empire Airways boat VH-ABA - April 1942

Entered onto Australian Aircraft Register as VH-ADU (CofR 784) - August 12, 1942

Registered to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd

Aircraft destroyed when it crashed during attempted landing at Port Moresby Harbour - April 23, 1943

Aircraft had departed Townsville en route to Port Moresby at 1943 hours - April 22, 1943

Due to bad weather conditions at destination and lack of fuel landing attempt made in open water

Aircraft stalled and fell heavily into the water, breaking up the fuselage

Flight Crew: Captain A. A. Koch; Second Pilot S .W .J. Peak; Radio Officer T .J. Phillips; Purser W. R. Barley

Aircraft carried 27 passengers all members of the Allied Services

Radio Officer & Purser were killed - passengers and remaining crew were rescued

Estimated that 'Camilla' had flown some 6,500 hours at the time of its loss




G-AEUB. Imperial Airways London - in the original livery at Sydney Harbour, March 1939.

VH-ADU. British Airways - in the camouflage wartime livery at Rose Bay, Sydney, date unknown.