VH-ABG. Short S-23C Empire Flying Boat. c/n S.838.

 

This aircraft was the fiftteenth Empire boat completed and flown by Short Bros at Rochester, Kent

The order was placed by Imperial Airways, London - September 02, 1935

It was completed as a S-23 Empire Class boat with 920 h.p. Bristol Pegasus Xc engines

The standard fuel capacity was 650 gallons

It had an all-up weight of 40,500 lbs (18,380 kg) which was later increased to 53,000 lbs (24,200 kg)

The cruising speed was 164 m.p.h. with a standard range of 760 miles / 1,245 km

Entered onto the British Aircraft Register (CofR 7670) as G-AETV - March 01, 1937

Launched as 'G-AETV' at the Short Bros Seaplane Works, The Medway, Rochester - June 15, 1938

First flown as G-AETV - June 17, 1937

Registered to Imperial Airways Limited, London

Certificate of Atrworthiness (CofA 5923) issued - June 17, 1937

Accepted by Major H. G. Brackley DSO (Air Superintendent of Imperial Airways) at Rochester - June 17, 1937

Ferried Rochester - Hythe - June 17, 1937

The aircraft was named 'Coriolanus' (a child's name from a Shakespearian Tragedy)

Operated its maiden service Southampton - Alexandria as IE559 - June 20, 1937

Operated the return westbound service Alexandria - Southampton as IW557 - June 22, 1937

Imperial Airways changed its name to British Overseas Airways Corporation - April 1, 1940

Registered to British Overseas Airways Corporation (CofR 7670/2) - August 22, 1940

Operated the inaugural Sydney - Dili (Portuguese Timor) service (Captain B. Hussey) - January 16, 1941

This aircraft was isolated in the eastern sector of 'Horseshoe' route due to military hostilities - February 15, 1942

It departed Broome for Tjilatjap under the command of Qantas Captain Ambrose - February 22, 1942

It had been tasked to pick-up civilians at Tjilatjap prior to its invasion by Japanese troops

Flown Tjilatjap - Broome - February 24, 1942

Flown Broome - Tjilatjap (Captain Ambrose) - February 26, 1942

Flown Tjilatjap - Broome - February 27, 1942

A third mission was undertaken Broome - Tjilatjap (Captain Ambrose) - February 28, 1942

This mission was aborted via radio call but on the way back Captain Ambrose carried out an aerial search

for an U.S.A.A.F. C-53 that had gone missing north of Broome on February 26, 1942

Cancelled from the British Aircraft Register - July 13, 1942

Its ownership was transferred to Qantas Empire Airways in exchange for 'VH-ABF' - August 1942

VH-ABF 'Cooee' had been isolated in western sector when the 'Horseshoe' route was cut - February 1942

Entered onto Australian Aircraft Register as VH-ABG (CofR 783) - August 12, 1942

Operated inaugural daily Townsville - Cairns - Port Moresby service - September 1942

Recovered the downed Boeing B-17 survivors off the eastern Papuan coast (Captain B. Hussey) - January 06, 1943

It was the first Qantas aircraft to re-enter Singapore after its liberation - October 08, 1945

Operated the inaugural Sydney - Noumea - Suva service (Captain O. Denny) - October 19, 1945

Operated the inaugural Sydney - Brisbane - Noumea - Fiji service - November 19, 1945

Operated its final revenue service Noumea - Sydney (Captain J. Lower) - December 20, 1947

Officially withdrawn from service at Sydney (Rose Bay) - December 23, 1947

The official retirement ceremony was held at the Flying Boat Base, Rose Bay, Sydney - January 08, 1948

The aircraft's log books and aircraft name plate were handed over to Hudson Fysh, the General Manager of Qantas

The Qantas engineer Mr George Roberts proposes that this aircraft be preserved

His request was refused by Hudson Fysh and this historic aircraft was broken up for scrap

Cancelled from Australian Aircraft Register - January 08, 1948

This aircraft had the distinction of being the last Empire Class Flying Boat in service anywhere in the world

However it was survived by the TEAL flying boat ZK-AMA 'Aotearoa' that had been withdrawn from service

much earlier - this aircraft was the last Short Empire flying boat in existence at the time and was

eventually broken up at Mission Bay, Auckland - October 1950

'Coriolanus' had flown over 18,500 hours and 2,500,000 miles when it was withdrawn from service

Scrapped on site at Rose Bay, Sydney - 1948

 

G-AETV. Imperial Airways London - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Rochester, June 1937.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-241.)

G-AETV. Imperial Airways London - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Southampton Dock, February 1939.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-363.)

G-AETV. British Overseas Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Rose Bay, Sydney, date unknown.

(P. Sheehan Collection Copyright Image 2545-857.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Rathmines, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-813.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Rathmines, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-814.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at an unknown location, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-243.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Sydney Rose Bay, January 08, 1948.

Mr R. Banks supervises the beaching of the aircraft for the last time.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-244.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Sydney Rose Bay, January 08, 1948.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-396.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Sydney Rose Bay, January 08, 1948.

The aircraft is prepared for its official decommissioning ceremony.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-364.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' in the standard livery at Sydney Rose Bay, January 08, 1948.

The aircraft's logbooks and nameplate are accepted by Mr W. Hudson Fysh from Captain W. Crowther.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-245.)

VH-ABG. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Coriolanus' nameplate at Sydney Rose Bay, January 08, 1948.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-365.)