From the Warbirds Online photo vault is an image of Lockheed Ventura PV-1 Bu.48900 237-6136 RAAF S/N A59-72 “Southern Job”. This aircraft came on RAAF charge on 29/02/44 and served with 13 Sqn. The aircraft served in the South Pacific Theatre of operations until it crashed on 25/11/45 during take-off at Balikpapan. The Ventura ran off the strip into a drain and was damaged beyond repair. No injuries were sustained and on 18/12/45 permission was given to convert it to components. There are not a lot of photos of RAAF Ventura’s so this image is fairly rare and a good example of the type and of the nose art implemented by RAAF Squadrons late in the war.
Also included are images of RAAF A59-70 and A59-4 at an unknown location as well as two unidentified RAAF Ventura’s. These photos are from the Malcom Long Collection via Ron Lee. They are significant as they display the various color schemes that Australian Venturas wore in service.
Australia operated 74 Ventura’s that were serialed A59-1 to 20 and A59-50 to 104 with 13 Squadron and training units.
In 1988 an American sourced Ventura was flown to Australia by Rob Poynton, Jim Czerwinski and Peter Anderson. For service by the RAAF Museum and was operated by them until 19/11/1996 when it belly landed in a field after double engine failure during an air show at RAAF Richmond, NSW. The aircraft was subsequently trucked back to Point Cook for static restoration where it remains in storage to this day. Operated in 13 Sqn markings with assumed serial A59-67 coded SF-F and named “Wiff-Oh”. It is believed that the original “Wiff-Oh” was actually A59-81 SF-D.
Although the aircraft was finished as “A59-67” it was in reality PV-1 Bu.33379 237-5378 n/a and was manufactured on 17/07/1943. It was brought on charge by Royal Canadian Air Force as 2221 in 1944.
© John Parker 2015