Type: L-414-56 Hudson Mk IIIA/A-29
MSN: 6477
Previous Identities: 41-36988
Subsequent Identities: 2603 (Israeli Air Force)


06MAY42 Received CAC for erection. (Source: 3)
28MAY42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex CAC after erection. (Source: 3)
03JUN42 Received 5 AD ex 1 AD. (Source: 3)
11JUL42 Received 13 SQN ex 5 AD. (Source: 3)
11JUL42 Received 1 RSU ex 13 SQN for fitment auxiliary fuel and oil tanks. (Source: 3)
23JUL42 While taxying at Daly Waters tailwheel strut collapsed damaging rear bulkhead. (Source: 3)
10AUG42 Received 13 SQN ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
13NOV42 Taxied into drain and starboard undercarriage collapsed. (Source: 3)
16NOV42 Received 1 RSU ex 13 SQN. (Source: 3)
09JAN43 Received 13 SQN ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
18MAR43 Received 1 AD Laverton ex 1 RSU. (Source: 3)
27APR43 Received 5 AD ex 1 AD. (Source: 3)
26JUN43 Received 2 SQN ex 5 AD. (Source: 3)
19JAN44 Received 4 RSU ex 2 SQN. (Source: 3)
11FEB44 Received 1 AD ex 4 RSU. (Source: 3)
13MAR44 Received ANA, Parafield ex 1 AD for conversion to air ambulance. (Source: 3)
23MAY44 Received 1 AD ex ANA for fitment of IFF equipment. (Source: 3)
28MAY44 Received 2 AAU ex 1 AD. (Source: 3)
07AUG45 Allotted to Survey Flight. (Source: 3)
07MAY46 Received 2 AD ex Survey Flight. (Source: 3)
01OCT46 Stored at 2 AD Richmond. (Source: 3)
24SEP47 Sold to European Air Transport, Sydney for £1,000. (Source: 3)
25NOV47 Collected by purchaser. (Source: 3)
17DEC47 Registered VH-BIA. (Source: AustAirData)
29JAN48 Registration application from European Air Transport, Sydney. To be used on overseas charter operations in 14 passenger 3 crew configuration. (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)
48 Flew to Athens experiencing numerous unserviceabilities en route. (Source: 4)
Arrived Sydney from Athens under the command of Capt S.V. Owen with 5 crew and 11 passengers. (Source: 2)
JUN48 Inspected at Mascot by DCA and electrical system found to be in very poor condition. Aircraft maintained by Curtis Madsen Aircrafts of whom DCA were highly critical. DCA wrote to EAT criticising their "lack of organisation for servicing your aircraft on overseas routes used." (Source: 4)
NOV48 European Air Transport "virtually non existent". (Source: 4)
29NOV48 Change of ownership to Rene Jorio, Kings Cross, Sydney. Aircraft is based at Camden. (Source: 4)
29NOV48 DCA file contains an identical carbon copy of George Marcel's letter (see VH-BFQ) advising: "I wish to take my aircraft out of Australia on a private business trip." (Source: 4)
19JAN49 Change of ownership to Nicholas Marcello, Kings Cross, NSW. (Source: 4)
19JAN49 Marcello advises DCA that he will be taking the aircraft overseas soon. (Source: 4)
13FEB49 VH-BIA and VH-BFQ departed Australia together on delivery to Israel. VH-BIA was flown by Franciszek 'Frank' Antoni Wiza with A.J. Hurst as co-pilot. VH-BFQ was flown by J.L.D. 'Wac' Whiteman with engineer 'Skeeter' Clayton. 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 Lydda, Israel to be escorted by IAF fighters. (Source: 2 - account by Whiteman)
22APR49 Australian CofA expired. (Source: 4)
49 Transferred to Israel Government on a five year lease. (Source: 4)
  Entered service with the Israeli Air Force as 2603 (subject to confirmation).
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)
OCT49 Struck off Register as "improper sale overseas". (Source: 4)
  Presumed destroyed in combat or subsequently scrapped.


See: The Israeli Air Force Hudsons


Geoff Goodall The Migrant Caper
RAAF Form E/E.88 Airframe Record Card A16-226.
DCA file on VH-BIA 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 at 07JUN48 from Source: 2.
3 30NOV22
Added sources to the chronology and expanded the information from Source: 4.
2 08JUN98
Added Israeli Air Force serial 2603.

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