Type: L-414-56 Hudson Mk III
MSN: 3843
Previous Identities: AE488
Subsequent Identities: 2604 (Israeli Air Force)


13MAR42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex RAF. (Source: 3)
12MAY42 Received 7 SQN ex 1 AD. (Source: 3)
29JUN42 Received 1 OTU ex 7 SQN. (Source: 3)
17SEP42 Received 1 AD ex 1 OTU. (Source: 3)
25SEP42 Arrived 5 AD Archerfield ex 1 AD Laverton and departed for 2 AD Richmond. (Source: 3)
28SEP42 Received by 6 SQN Horn Island. (Source: 3)
15OCT42 Allotted 15 RSU ex 6 SQN. (Source: 3)
15NOV42 Received 6 SQN ex 15 RSU. (Source: 3)
25NOV42 Received 5 AD Archerfield ex 6 SQN for fitment CO2 equipment and auxiliary tank. (Source: 3)
30NOV42 Aircraft requires major repairs to mainplanes. (Source: 3)
02APR43 Received 1 OTU ex 5 AD. (Source: 3)
28AUG43 Fitted with dual controls. (Source: 3)
02DEC43 Received 7 AD ex 1 OTU. (Source: 3)
21JAN44 Received 1 OTU ex 7 AD. (Source: 3)
30AUG44 Inspection reveals cracked port centre section. (Source: 3)
03OCT44 Received 2 AD Richmond ex 1 OTU for repairs. (Source: 3)
13MAY45 Received 1 OTU ex 2 AD. (Source: 3)
29MAR46 Received 2 AD Richmond for storage ex 1 OTU East Sale. (Source: 3)
16APR47 Sold to L.M. Van Praag, Bondi, NSW for £1,000. (Source: 3)
06JUN47 Issued to purchaser. (Source: 3)
During Warren Penny's subsequent bankruptcy hearing in July 1949, he claimed that he had purchased two Hudsons which he believed to be A16-112 and A16-122.

A16-112 he sold to IAT director Mr. F. Megna but repossessed it and gave it to the Shell company as a guarantee against fuel bills.

A16-122 he sold to a Mr Clarke but it was "subsequently taken over by Thomas, repaired in our workshops and then vanished overseas."

There is an anomaly here in that A16-122 had been acquired by Penny in a previous transaction so possibly this aircraft was actually A16-222 which did indeed "vanish overseas" to Israel as VH-BLB at the hands of one Brian Thomas (see below). If this is the case, A16-222, which was sold by CDC to Lionel Van Praag, must have been onsold to Warren Penny, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Thomas. Such transactions have not been recorded previously. It will be noted that as per the following entry, VH-BLB did not enter service with Guinea Air Traders as originally intended. (Source: 4)
GAT Hudson VH-ALA crashed at Lae with the loss of all 37 on board. It is likely that this event influenced the company's decision not to put VH-BLB into service.
12AUG48 Registration application from Brian Thomas, Willoughby, NSW. Aircraft was originally intended to be used as a freighter by Guinea Air Traders but later amended to 9 passenger configuration but was never used in New Guinea. (Source: 2)
12NOV48 Added to Register as VH-BLB. (Source: AustAirData)
18JAN49 Curtis Madsen Aircrafts Pty Ltd issued Drawing No. CM36 for the seating layout of VH-BLB specifying nine (9) seats aft of the spar (Station 188). (Source: 2)
FEB49 Departed Australia for Palestine on a charter to the Israeli Government. The aircraft is owned by Mr. B. Thomas but was flown by Mr. Samuel Jamieson as a private flight in the name of Guinea Air Traders Ltd. However when DCA approached Mr. John Jamieson, Managing Director of GAT, he denied that Sam Jamieson had any right to use the company name, nor was his flight in BLB for GAT. (Source: 2)
MAY49 Aircraft is grounded at Ciampino, Rome with u/s engine. (Source: 2)
29MAY49 Test flown at Rome after fitment of a new engine that had been sourced in the U.K. Subsequently departed for Palestine. (Source: 2)
JUN49 Advice from Australia House in London that Hudson aircraft VH-BLB is now in the hands of the Israeli Air Force, but still flying under Australian registration markings. It is currently engaged in the hostilities against Arab forces. (Source: 2)
  Subsequently issued with the Israeli Air Force Serial 2604 (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: 2)
  DCA investigations revealed that the alleged GAT charter to the Israeli Government was "a subterfuge to prevent awkward questions being asked on the disposal of warlike materials to the Israel Government." Mr. Thomas is no longer in Australia, address unknown. (Source: 2)
30DEC49 Struck off Register as "improper sale overseas". (Source: 2 / AustAirData)
  Presumably destroyed in combat or subsequently scrapped.


See: The Israeli Air Force Hudsons


DCA file on VH-BLB accessed by Geoff Goodall.
RAAF Form E/E.88 Airframe Record Card A16-222.
Geoff Goodall The Migrant Caper


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 13DEC22
Added further information from Source: 4.
3 30NOV22
Added sources to the chronology and expanded the information from Source: 2.
2 13MAR98
Added Israeli Air Force serial 2604.

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