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I built this a few years ago for my Mum whose father piloted a "Black Cat" on 62 combat missions in WW2. She had previously had some 1/72 models, one was the very old Airfix one my Dad (not really a modeller) made years and years ago; the other was the Academy one I built for my grandfather in the early 90s while he was still alive. Both have suffered over the years!

 

When my parents moved to a smaller place, I decided to build her this one. It's in the markings of one of the planes he flew, based on his log books which she still has. He flew this one on a mission on 28 October 1943. The A24-42 serial under the tail was too small for me to do with the white marker pen I used for the larger serials (the letters). One day if I can find white decals small enough I might add those.

 

It deliberately doesn't have antenna or anything else on it that would break off too easily. Judging by the hammering the other two models took over the years, that was the best call.

 

She really likes it and it normally resides on the bookcase. In these pics it's on top of the piano. 

 

It's a good little kit and was easy to build.

 

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This is his log-book for that mission (towards the bottom; check out the load on the strike mission on the 31st of that month too...)

 

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6 minutes ago, Michael51 said:

Nice work on the Cat and what a very neat log book!

 

Michael

thanks!

 

Yes he wrote very clearly. When I was about 12 he tried to teach me Copperplate handwriting...with no luck!

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62 missions in Catalinas! I know that they wete long missions.

A fitting tribute to an inspiring figure, and a nice memorial for those left.

 

DennisTheBear

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1 hour ago, DennisTheBear said:

62 missions in Catalinas! I know that they wete long missions.

A fitting tribute to an inspiring figure, and a nice memorial for those left.

 

DennisTheBear

Yeah the Catalina missions were very long - over the years various people, including my grandfather, wrote books about RAAF Catalina operations. They had pretty high losses. He never really spoke about the war at all - my Mum says she barely knew he'd been in it until she was a teenager - but around the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which his best friend was killed, he got a little more involved in the veteran community and marched in ANZAC Day for the first (and only) time. That was only a year or two before he died of cancer at 74 (which seemed very old to me at the time although my own Dad is older than that now!). He was always very modest about it - he was just one of the many regular people who did their best and was lucky to survive.  Some of the antics they got up to sound pretty scary - low level night flying to drop mines in enemy harbours, for example. Once his plane had to put down on some island somewhere and they beached it to refuel but it caught on fire. He was convinced he'd be court martialled even though he raced aboard with some wet sacks to try to put it out. They had to be towed back to a proper port and then the plane was fixed up and he was told it was good to go. He had started studying engineering before the air force and he was asking about metal weakness caused by the metal heating up so much during the fire. They said, nah she's apples, basically, so he took it up for a test flight with a parachute and yanked it around as much as he could. As he got off the plane from that flight some officers told him he was nuts and the plane had been condemned as unairworthy. He didn't get court martialled either. 

 

Sounds like for him and just about everyone in the war it was kind of roll the dice each day and see how you go. Live or die at the flip of the coin.

 

Anyway it's good to have and I take a little look at it each time I am over there at my parents' place.

 

 

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I love the load for Port Moresby. I note the Ginger beer bottles.. 🤣

 

Well I believe empty bottles make a bomb whine as they. Psychological warfare! 

 

Nice model too. A fitting tribute. 

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Nice model and I really like the associated history.

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11 hours ago, noelh said:

I love the load for Port Moresby. I note the Ginger beer bottles.. 🤣

 

Well I believe empty bottles make a bomb whine as they. Psychological warfare! 

 

Nice model too. A fitting tribute. 

Yes, that's exactly it - he told me they sometimes shoved razor blades into the bottle neck because it made the bottles whistle more as they fell. The idea was to get the enemy to freak out and run around thinking they were under heavy bombardment. Poor guy - he was actually pretty ashamed of all the awful stuff that was done in the war, he felt really bad about it and I remember as a younger kid he was kind of ashen faced as he took me around the annex to the Australian War Memorial (which in those days and maybe still today was like a big storage depot in a small industrial district in Canberra where they stored up all the things they didn't have on display at the actual museum). I think he really struggled with it for much of his life, as no doubt so many vets from all wars did or do. Not to say that they didn't serve at their best or think it was the right thing - my grandfather was clear that he signed up because he thought the Nazis had to be stopped (although by the time he entered service it was in the Pacific, where he had no moral qualms about the need to stop Imperial Japan) - but just that the impact on him as a human participating in all the death and destruction was pretty severe. Like many from that generation I guess he just internalized it and it seemed to work for him if he didn't talk about it much but heaven knows what his hidden demons were. He died of cancer and in his last few days of life where he was juiced up on painkillers he was mostly mumbling about the war - seemed to be reliving missions or something based on the stuff he was saying.

 

anyway, I digress! 

11 hours ago, gingerbob said:

Darn it, now you've got me wanting to dig out that kit!

haha, do it man, do it!

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Not sure what I like the best, the model, the stand or the handwriting.  They're all perfect.

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40 minutes ago, Natter said:

Not sure what I like the best, the model, the stand or the handwriting.  They're all perfect.

haha thanks! These stands are cool - I got them in China and they're really neat.

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Interesting read about your Grandfather. His reaction seems typical of many veterans. Young men often just get through war as a bit of an adventure. It's only later when it becomes troubling. 

 

While many don't talk about it much, I doubt it's ever far from their minds. 

 

One of my Grandfathers was a Great War veteran. I never met him because he walked out on his family in the early thirties. I wonder if part of the reason was his wartime experiences. We'll never know as he vanished quite thoroughly. 

 

His logbook is very neatly written. Mine is a mess, it's shameful. It must be fascinating to read through it. Did you ever try to match up his logbook entries with the history of the Black Cat operations? It might be interesting to see his entry after a particularly dramatic operation. Although probably he would have understated his part. 

 

I know in my logbooks there are several one word comments in the remarks column are meaningless without context. One just says 'messy'. It was that alright. 🙄

 

It's great to be able pay a tribute to your Grandad even in a small way. 

 

 

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On 1/22/2021 at 11:33 PM, noelh said:

 

 

I know in my logbooks there are several one word comments in the remarks column are meaningless without context. One just says 'messy'. It was that alright. 🙄

 

 

 

 

Golly - one can only imagine!

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