Warbirds Online recently traveled to Canberra to see the restoration of RAAF Lockheed Hudson A16-105 at the Treloar Technology Centre, the Australian War Memorial’s storage and workshop facility to get an update on progress since our last report on the project in 2014.
Jamie Croker, one of the Memorial’s Large Technology Conservators restoring the historic Hudson, kindly showed us around. Jamie has been working on the aircraft for some time now and the workmanship is a sight to behold, especially the beautiful restoration of the Boulton Paul Type C Mk.II upper turret which is now complete and ready for fitting. This is a very rare item as most were disposed of post war. The Australian War Memorial (AWM) had two very damaged and incomplete turrets to deal with and have done a great job.
Work has also progressed throughout the airframe towards completion of the project. The restoration has been focused on returning the configuration of the aircraft back to its original condition which has included a lot of detailed changes to various internal structures and fittings as well as the manufacture of items that are no longer obtainable. The Military equipment stripped out during the Hudson’s civil service has been replaced and in a few instances, replaced with newly manufactured items such as the gun mount in the ventral turret. The ventral turret itself also had to be sourced as it was removed in civil use.
The bomb bay doors are another time consuming item. In an effort to maintain as much originality as possible in the aircraft, its original doors have been retained and are being repaired, which is difficult given that during the Hudson’s civil service it was used as a photo survey aircraft. Large sections of the bomb bay doors were cut away to give access to the cameras carried in the bomb bay. The bay doors are in the process of being restored and removed structure replaced including large sections of skin. The bomb bay door bell cranks are another item that was unable to be sourced, so new items have been cast to match a pattern that was available.
The Hudson restoration has now reached the stage where items are being added progressively, rather than removed, which is a positive stage in any Warbird restoration. The tail, turret and wings will go on the airframe last, so the team will have clear access during the aircrafts assembly. The aircraft will be finished in an accurate scheme for this machine during its service, with the RAAF. We were very impressed with the control panel and wireless stack restoration and installation which have progressed very well and look very authentic. At this stage, the completion of the restoration of the Hudson is scheduled for June 2016.
A hallmark of work carried out by the AWM is the attention to detail and accuracy of their restorations. They have a well-earned reputation for the completeness and detail of restored exhibits. The Hudson is a clear example of the meticulous nature of their restoration efforts. As the Hudson nears the end of a long restoration the conversation turned to what project comes next. ‘The DAP Beaufort is one of the aircraft being considered in the forward conservation program, that decision will not be confirmed until the new year. Something very exciting to look forward to!
Warbirds Online will continue to report on progress on this excellent Warbird restoration project and its completion. We wish to thank the Australian War Memorial staff who assisted us to prepare the update on Lockheed Hudson A16-105.
© John Parker 2015