Several anomalies have emerged during research into Australian and Dutch Lodestars. These anomalies are highlighted on this page in the interests of sharing the puzzlement around and hopefully finding answers!
Doug Fawcett's Four:
In his autobiography, Doug Fawcett claims that he overhauled four Lodestars on behalf of their American owners who were located in Manila. These aircraft were said to have been flown from storage at Tocumwal to Bankstown where they were overhauled before being ferried to the USA by American crews. The problem with this is that all the Lodestars known to have been stored at Tocumwal are otherwise accounted for. So where did these four aircraft come from? No serial numbers or registrations are quoted and none of the stored Lodestars are known to have turned up on the FAA register. Sadly, Doug Fawcett passed away in 2005.
How Many Lodestars at Tocumwal?:
Available evidence suggests that there were twelve (12) Lodestars stored at Tocumwal after the war. However, in February 1946, the Aircraft Storage Section of the Tocumwal Care and Maintenance Unit reported that a total of seven (7) Lodestars were received during the month of February and that at the end of February there was a total of seven (7) Lodestars stored at the CMU. All seven were reported to be stored under cover in No. 5 Hangar. Presumably there were another five (5) Lodestars stored elsewhere on the airfield but why were they not included in the total and might there have been more than five?
The NEI's Postwar Four:
Dutch records state that there were four Lodestars still in service in the NEI as late as January 1947. These are said to be: LT931, LT932, LT933 and LT935. Australian records state that LT932, LT933 and LT935 were indeed returned to the NEI in 1946 but LT931 was sold at Tocumwal in 1950 to Doug Fawcett as VH-FAC. So was VH-FAC really the former LT931 and if so what was the fourth Lodestar in the NEI in 1947? The RAAF status card for LT931 states that: "Mr Douglas Fawcett produced original disposal contract documents to establish ownership". This suggests an unusual level of interest in ensuring that the right person got the right aeroplane. Given that the Dutch Lodestars loaned to the RAAF were identified only by their LT9 serials, it is highly likely that somebody would have scrutinised the aeroplane to ensure that it was indeed LT931 that went out the gate at Tocumwal. Until evidence to the contrary emerges, LT931 and VH-FAC will be regarded as the same aeroplane.
For further information, but no answers, see:
|Fawcett, Doug, Pilots & Propellers - a lifetime in aviation, Crawford House, 1998.
|RAAF Form E/E.88.
|Marson, Peter J., The Lockheed Twins, Air-Britain, 2001
|Boer, Dr P.C., Netherlands East Indies Air Transport units of the Militaire Luchtvaart KNIL (Army Aviation Corps of the Royal NEI Army) and their aircraft in Australia and Java, 16 January 1943-1 November 1946, February 2020.