Type: L-414-56 Hudson Mk IIIA/A-29
Msn: 6417
Previous Identities: 41-23600
Subsequent Identities: 2602 (Israeli Air Force)


16MAR42 Received 2 AD Richmond. (Source: 3)
02APR42 Departed 2 AD Richmond en route 2 Sqn via Cloncurry. (Source: 3)
06APR42 Received 2 Sqn ex 2 AD. (Source: 3)
15APR42 Aircraft damaged in accident. (Source: 3)
23APR42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex 2 Sqn. (Source: 3)
21MAY42 To be fitted "only with beam guns" at 1 AD. (Source: 3)
31MAY42 Issued 13 Sqn ex 1 AD. (Source: 3)
02JUL42 Received 1 RSU es 13 Sqn. (Source: 3)
30JUL42 Received 13 Sqn ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
24SEP42 Received 1 RSU ex 13 Sqn. (Source: 3)
03NOV42 Received 13 Sqn ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
24DEC42 Issued 1 RSU ex 13 Sqn for engine change and starboard mainplane change. (Source: 3)
17JAN43 Allotted 13 Sqn ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
16MAR43 Received 1 RSU ex 13 Sqn. (Source: 3)
14APR43 Received 2 Sqn ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
21MAY43 Received 4 RSU ex 2 Sqn. (Source: 3)
31MAY43 Received 2 Sqn ex 4 RSU. (Source: 3)
26JUN43 Received 4 RSU ex 2 Sqn. (Source: 3)
05JUL43 Received 2 Sqn ex 4 RSU. (Source: 3)
27JUL43 Received 4 RSU ex 2 Sqn. (Source: 3)
17AUG43 Received 2 Sqn ex 4 RSU. (Source: 3)
29OCT43 Received 3 AD Amberley ex 2 Sqn for survey and complete overhaul. (Source: 3)
11OCT44 Received by Australian National Airways, Parafield for conversion to air ambulance (Source: 3).
18NOV44 Received 2 AAU ex ANA. (Source: 3)
20AUG45 Received 2 AD Richmond ex 2 AAU. Aircraft time expired and all fuel tanks leaking. (Source: 3)
19NOV45 Issued 2 AD for storage. (Source: 3)
24SEP47 Sold to European Air Transport, Sydney for £170. (Source: 3)
12NOV47 Collected by purchaser. (Source: 3)
Ferried from Richmond to Mascot for conversion by Butler Air Transport. (Source: 2)
Ferried from Mascot to Bankstown for completion of conversion by Curtis Madsen Aircrafts Pty Ltd. (Source: 2)
17DEC47 Registration application from European Air Transport, Sydney (c/- Nicholas Marcello, Kings Cross). Aircraft is configured for 14 passengers. (EAT was formed in 1947 to operate migrant charters to Australia, mainly from Italy and Greece). (Source: 4)
FEB48 CofA overhaul was completed in late February. The Managing Director of EAT, Nicholas Marcello, advised DCA that EAT is engaged in international charter operations and VH-BFQ would shortly be departing Australia on a charter. The aircraft was named Kythira, the same name given to VH-JCM when it operated two earlier charters on behalf of EAT. (Source: 4)
A DCA internal report states that EAT have a Hudson under conversion by Butler Air Transport (believed to be VH-BFQ) and another under conversion by Curtis Madsen (believed to be VH-BIA). (Source: 2)
Arrived in Sydney from Athens under the command of Capt H. Gibson-Lee with 4 crew and 14 passengers. (Source: 2)
11NOV48 Change of ownership to George Marcel, Kings Cross. (Source: 4)
13NOV48 Marcel advised DCA that he wishes to take VH-BFQ "on a private business trip overseas". (Source: 4)
13FEB49 VH-BFQ and VH-BIA departed Australia together on delivery to Israel. VH-BFQ was flown by J.L.D. 'Wac' Whiteman with engineer 'Skeeter' Clayton. VH-BIA was flown by Franciszek 'Frank' Antoni Wiza with A.J. Hurst as co-pilot. Both aircraft were said to be in "shocking condition". The delivery route included stops at:
Baghdad (3 days)
Nicosia (3 days)
During the stopover in Baghdad the aircraft operated two side trips to Mecca with pilgrims who sat on a layer of straw on the cabin floor!
The delay in Nicosia was awaiting clearance to Rome on the pretext that the aircraft, which were not fitted with passenger seats, were to be refitted as passenger aircraft in Italy. After departing Nicosia, the aircraft diverted to Israel, to be escorted to Lydda by IAF fighters. (Source: 2 - account by Whiteman)
  The aeroplane later entered service with the Israeli Air Force with the serial 2602 (subject to confirmation). It is assumed that the aircraft was subsequently destroyed in combat or scrapped.
04APR49 Australian Certificate of Airworthiness expired. (Source: 4)
10AUG49 On this date, a letter was addressed to the Director General of Civil Aviation, Melbourne from R.M. Seymour, Civil Aviation Liaison Officer, Australia House, London detailing an interview with Mr. A.J. Hurst who had been a pilot on several aircraft that had been delivered from Australia to Israel. "As far as Mr. Hurst is concerned, I am convinced that his interest in the matter was as a pilot being employed by the purchasers of these aircraft simply on delivery flights. Before being engaged in this traffic, Mr. Hurst was in the employ of Mr. Warren Penny when Inter-Continental Airlines were operating. During our conversation Mr. Hurst gave me details of at least six Australian aircraft which included 4 Hudson aircraft, one Lodestar and a DC5, which have left Australia and are now definitely in the hands of the Israeli Air Force. The details of these machines are as follows:-

"Two Hudson aircraft, registered VH-BFQ and VH-BIA, were delivered during this year, leaving Australia during February and March. These aircraft were owned by a company which is believed by Mr. Hurst to be named the Southern European Transport Company (sic) registered in Sydney. The person who represented this company and with whom Mr. Hurst had contact is a Mr. G. Marcel. Mr. Hurst understands that Marcel owns a Milk Bar in Sydney and is not himself actually interested in the operation of aircraft. He tells me the aircraft are both serviceable and were equipped as passenger liners. He also understands that the transfer was made on the basis that the aircraft have been chartered by the Israeli Government for a period of 5 years. He also understands that the registration letters of these aircraft have now been cancelled.

"Another Hudson, VH-BLB, belonging to Guinea Air Traders was delivered to Palestine leaving Australia in February. He tells me that this aircraft is also on charter to the Israeli Government, is in the hands of their Air Force, and is flying under Australian registration. He also believes that one other Hudson aircraft was definitely delivered. He did not know the registration letters, nor the owner, but he told me that the aircraft has since crashed in Palestine and has been written off." (This would be VH-BIH. Ed)

The letter goes on to describe the other aircraft types but these details are not shown here. (Source: 4)
11OCT49 Struck off Australian Register as "improper sale overseas". (Source: 4)


See: The Israeli Air Force Hudsons


Geoff Goodall The Migrant Caper
RAAF Form E/E.88 Airframe Record Card A16-156.
NAA Series MP 113/1, DCA file on VH-BFQ accessed by Geoff Goodall.


The conversion of former RAAF Hudsons to airliners was largely driven by the upsurge in migration from Europe in the immediate post-war years. Several entrepreneurs began operating charter flights, mainly from Rome and Athens, in what became known amongst the main players as The Migrant Caper. These operations are covered in exquisite detail in Geoff Goodall's seminal work. The following link will take you to Geoff Goodall's Aviation History Site:

The Migrant Caper

Issue Date Remarks
4 23DEC22
Added information from Source: 2.
3 30NOV22
Added sources to the chronology and expanded the information from Source: 4.
2 13FEB98
Added Israeli Air Force serial 2602.

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