VH-ADU. Short S-23C Empire Class Flying Boat. c/n S.844.


This aircraft was the twenty-first Empire boat completed and flown by Short Brothers at Rochester, Kent

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

Completed as a S-23 Empire Class boat having 920 h.p. Bristol Perseus XII engines

It had an all-up weight of 53,000 lb, cruised at 165 m.p.h. with a range of 760 miles

Entered onto the British Aircraft Register as G-AEUB (CofR 7676) - March 01, 1937

Registered to Imperial Airways Limited, London

Launched as 'G-AEUB' at the Short Bros Seaplane Works, The Medway, Rochester - September 10, 1937

First flown as G-AEUB - September 11, 1937

The Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA 6028) issued - September 13, 1937

It was delivered to Imperial Airways, London - September 13, 1937

The aircraft was named 'Camilla' (meaning 'Noble')

Operated its maiden outward flight Southampton - Alexandria as IE584 - September 16, 1937

Operated the return service Alexandria - Southampton as IW583 - September 21, 1937

This aircraft was part of the aircraft pool operated by Imperial Airways and Qantas Empire Airways

on services between Southampton, England and Sydney, Australia

Qantas Empire Airways crews flew the aircraft on the Sydney - Singapore - Sydney sector of this route

between July 1938 and October 1941

Qantas Empire Airways crews then took over the Singapore - Karachi - Singapore sector of the route

from October 1941 to February 1942 when operations ceased due to Japanese war activities in South-East Asia

It operated the inaugural Southampton - Sydney service (Captain E. S. Alcock) - June 26, 1938

Operated the inaugural Sydney - Southampton Empire Air Mail Service (Captain L. J. Brain) - August 04, 1938

Imperial Airways was merged to form British Overseas Airways Corporation - April 01, 1940

Ownership was officially transferred to British Airways - August 22, 1940

Registered to British Airways (CofR 7676/2) - August 22, 1940

'Camilla' arrived in Darwin from Broome carrying Air Marshall R. Williams who was returning

to Australia from exchange duty with the Royal Air Force - February 18, 1942

It survived a Japanese aerial attack on Darwin Harbour by flying to Groote Eylandt - February 24, 1942

Flight crew: Captains Crowther, W. Hussey

Arrived Broome from Sydney (Captain E. C. Simms) carrying a spare engine for another S.23 - February 28, 1942

It escaped being destroyed at Broome during a Japanese air-raid by delaying its arrival - March 03, 1942

Captain E. C. Simmms was not able to proceed to its next port until the aircraft had been refuelled

Whilst sheltering in the creek it had 30 cm of its wingtip torn-off by the refuelling barge

The damage was considered minor so it continued on its schedule operations before returning to Sydney for repairs

Operated Broome - Port Headland carrying wounded and refugee passengers - March 03, 1942

Operated Port Headland - Broome (Captain E. C. Sims) arriving 06:15 local - March 04, 1942

Departed Broome (07:10 local) with passengers destined for Port Headland - March 04, 1942

The aircraft then flew Port Headland - Perth

Ferried Perth - Broome (Capt. E. C. Sims) - March 07, 1942

Uploaded the last Q.E.A. staff including Captain Lester Brain and flew Broome - Port Headland - March 07, 1942

Flew Port Headland - Perth (Captain E. C. Sims) where it was unloaded and refuelled - March 07, 1942

Operated Perth - Port Headland (Captain Thomas) with a cargo of dynamite - March 11, 1942

As the aircraft was no longer airworthy and required urgent overhaul it was ferried to Sydney via Albany -

Adelaide - Geelong - arriving March 18, 1942

This aircraft was isolated in Australia when the Japanese Asain advancement cut the Horseshoe Route

It was exchanged for the Qantas Empire Airways boat 'VH-ABA' - April 1942

Cancelled from the British Aircraft Register - July 13, 1942

Entered onto Australian Aircraft Register as VH-ADU (CofR 784) - August 12, 1942

Registered to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd, Sydney

The aircraft was destroyed when it crashed during an attempted landing at Port Moresby Harbour - April 23, 1943

It had departed Townsville (19:43 local) en route to Port Moresby - April 22, 1943

Due to bad weather conditions at its destination and lack of fuel a landing attempt was made in open water

The aircraft stalled and fell heavily into the water, breaking up the fuselage

Flight Crew: Captain A. A. Koch; Second Pilot S .W .J. Peak; Radio Officer T .J. Phillips; Purser W. R. Barley

The aircraft was carrying 27 passengers who were all members of the Allied Services

The Radio Officer and the Purser were killed - the passengers and the remaining crew were rescued

It was estimated that 'Camilla' had flown some 6,500 hours at the time of its loss

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - April 23, 1943



G-AEUB. Imperial Airways - 'Camilla' in the standard livery at Rose Bay, Sydney, September 1939.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-248.)

VH-ADU. British Airways - 'Camilla' in the war time camouflage livery at Rose Bay, Sydney, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-249.)