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Alan Blencowe's Microsoft Flight Simulator Airfield Design - 3D FSX models for Western Australia!

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YCRW Crawley US Navy Seaplane Base & QANTAS Pelican Point (1946)

I have no photos of the base on the university grounds and only one building remains so any pictures of the 1940-1950s era or any information on which current buildings existed at the time would be appreciated.

(9th May 2010)

Rottnest Island Graveyard - 4 Catalinas

Qantas Empire Airways Indian Ocean Flying Boat Service, 1943–45 operated jointly with the RAF from the ramp in the left of the image which still remains. The service between Australia and the USA, used five US Catalina flying boats, leased to Britain. They were originally registered as Qantas Empire Airways aircraft.

Names and serial nos:

G-AGFM, Altair Star (RAF Serial No. FP-244);

G-AGFL, Vega Star; (FP-221);

G-AGID, Rigel Star (JX-575),

G-AGIE, Antares Star (JX-577 ) and

G-AGKS, Spica Star (JX-287).

(And the little boat servicing them in Perth was the Twinkle Star)


First flight -10 July 1943. The first leg of the journey is the longest, 6,800 kms over the Indian Ocean from Crawley Bay, Perth to Koggala Lake, south of Galle in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Duration of flights 28 to 36 hours made under strict radio silence, navigated by sextant. Black Cats flew 271 missions, clocking up 4.6 million kms and carried 51,061 kg of official documents and mail, 6524kg of freight and 648 high priority passengers. No aircraft were shot down, despite flying unarmed

through enemy airspace. Four Catalinas were scuttled on 28 Nov. 1945. Under the terms of the Lend Lease agreement, the four aircraft were scuttled (blown up) 13 kms SW of Cape Vlaming Lighthouse on Rottnest Is, bearing 293. Spica Star (KX-287) scrapped off Sydney, March 1946. A further 168 Catalina served with the RAAF between 1941 and 1952. Most were scrapped.


The USAF operated a Catalina base from neighbouring Matilda Bay (in background).  "The Black Cats" was a term used for the Catalinas of Patrol Airwing 10 (Patwing 10), VP101 who straggled in to Crawley after the retreat from the Philippines arriving with three PBY-4s and their support vessels.  101-P-3, 102-P-25 and 22-P-12 reached Pelican Point at Perth 7th March 1942.  Command Patrol Wing 10 was based at Perth, Western Australia in the grounds of the University of WA (Crawley Bay).  Patrol Squadrons 101, 102, and 22 operated as a unit from Pelican Point.

1 May 1942: The reformed VP-101 recommenced combat patrols off the coast of Australia, operating from bases at Exmouth Gulf, Pelican Point, Geraldton and Albany. Tender support was provided by Childs (DD-241, AVP-14, AVD-1), Heron (AM-10, AVP 2) and William B. Preston (DD-344, AVP-20, AVD-7). The aircraft of Patwing 10 operated out of Matlida Bay. Shortly after arriving in Perth. They upgraded to PBY-5s with the blister gun ports.  

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Declaration:  Alan Blencowe does not have any financial interests in any payware companies or sites and apart from FSX and FenceBuilderPro, all scenery projects are developed totally free of reliance on payware.  Models created by Alan Blencowe with freeware can be used in freeware projects with permission.