No. 3 Operational Training Unit RAAF

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3 OTU.jpg
Catalina aircraft from No. 3 Operational Training Unit in 1943 AWM photo 128145

Brief History

The Seaplane Training Flight was formed at Rathmines, New South Wales on l Mar 1940. Equipped with two Seagull aircraft, the Unit trained pilots and crew in seaplane techniques before postmgs to 9, 10, and 11 Squadrons. Some pilots also served on the cruisers of the Royal Australian Navy. On 5 Feb 1941 the Unit was allocated its first Catalina aircraft, and began Catalina conversion courses.

The unit's first operational sortie was flown on 4 Jan 1942. On 28 Dec 1942, the Seaplane Training Flight was formed into No. 3 Operational Training Unit. In addition to its major training role, the unit flew anti-submarine patrols as well as mercy missions to Lord Howe lsland. On 15 April 1943, two Catolina aircraft flew to the island and returned to Rose Bay, Sydney, with the passengers from a Tasman Emp1re Air Lines flying boat wh1ch had been forced down at Lord Howe Island.

There was only one reported contact with the enemy. On 1 May 1943, a Catalina was on an anti-submarine patrol to cover the USS Bagely and another vessel when a submarine was sighted. The Catalina attacked with machmc gun fire, and dropped three depth charges witholut success. May was also a trag1c month for, on the 24th, A24-29 crashed whilst landing in a heavy swell at Port Stephens and Fthe pilot and 11 personnel from No. 11 Catalina conversion course were kllled.

The Umt was re-named Crew Training Unit (Flymg Boat) on l Feb 1946, and it was during this month that manpowcr dropped markedly- 1OO airmen were posted. On I Apr 1946 thc name of the unit was agam changed to Crew Conversion Unit (Flying Boat) and, on 18 April, the Unit absorbed 113 Air- Sea Rescue Flight RAAF. The last entry In the Unit History Record is datedd 30 Apr 1946.



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