VH-TOA. (ntu) Short S.45 Solent Mk 3. c/n S.1294.


This aircraft was built by Short Bros at Rochester, Kent

It was built to the U. K. Ministry of Transport Contract No. 2688 for 8 Sunderland Mk IV aircraft

Allocated the Royal Air Force serial NJ202

Prior to completion the aircraft was redesignated a Seaford Mk I

This airframe was not taken on-charge by the Royal Air Force

Declared suplus to requirements and it was returned to the Ministry of Supply - 1947

Transferred to Short Bros & Harland, Belfast for conversion to a Solent Mk III - September 25, 1947

This aircraft was configured to seat 39 passengers

Entered onto the British Aircraft Register (CofR 12077/1) as G-AKNO - December 02, 1947

Registered to Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, London

Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA 10242) issued - April 01, 1949

Leased to British Overseas Airways Corporation as registered operator - April 01, 1949

Delivered to BOAC at Hythe as 'Seaforth' - April 01, 1949

Flown Hythe - London where the aircraft alighted on the Thames River - May 05, 1949

Was taxied to Limehouse Reach, opposite the Tower of London

Aircraft was named 'City of London' by the Lord Mayor of London - May 10, 1949

Name chosen the celebrate the 40th anniversary of the commencement of British Civil Aviation

It operated its first revenue service - June 01, 1949

Operated final revenue service and withdrawn from use - November 10, 1950

Returned to Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation - November 10, 1950

Returned to Short Bros & Harland at Belfast and placed in open storage - November 10, 1950

Cancelled from the British Aircraft Register - December 20, 1950

Prepared for sale Trans Oceanic Airways Pty Ltd, Australia

Painted in the Trans Oceanic livery at Belfast prior to acceptance

Returned to the British Aircraft Register as G-AKNO - ?

Acceptance flight performed at Belfast - January 22, 1951

Sold to Bryan W. Monkton t/a Trans Oceanic Airways - January 22, 1951

The aircraft was named 'Star of Australia'

Trans Oceanic requested permission to operate a migrant charter flight as its delivery flight to Australia

Although registration marks 'VH-TOA' were painted on the aircraft it was not officially registered as such

Ferried Belfast - Southampton - January 23, 1951

Departed Southampton as 'G-AKNO' on the delivery flight to Australia - January 23, 1951

Arrived at Marseille where 39 French building workers embarked on the aircraft for the delivery flight to Australia

Flew Marseille - Malta where the flight was delayed due to bad weather

Aircraft was destroyed on take-off from Marsaxlok Bay, Malta - January 28, 1951

Whilst taking-off the aircraft struck a large wave which snapped off the port side wingtip float

The aircraft stalled, rolled over on its back where it floated for a short time before sinking

Thirty-eight passengers were rescued by a RAF crash launch, one passenger drowned

Flight crew: Captains B. Monkton, K. H. Goddard; F/E R. Bush



G-AKNO. BOAC - 'City of London' in the standard livery on the Thames River, London, May 10, 1949.

This was the official naming ceremony.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-815.)