history of Douglas DC-5 c/n 424, by Gil White

C/n 424

Designed and manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company Inc. at El Segundo in California. British Airways also originally ordered this aircraft for use on the London to Berlin route and one of nine ordered by the company for this purpose. Allocated the registration of G-AFYI. With the outbreak of war in Europe the Air Ministry instructed the company not to proceed with the order and the deposit paid was transferred to other Douglas aircraft for use by the Air Force.

Purchased by K.L.M. and allocated the registration of PH-AXA and the name of 'Alk' which means Razorbill. With the German invasion of the Netherlands the aircraft was not delivered. Transferred to K.L.M. (West Indies Division), which was based at Curacao. Registered PJ-AIW and named 'Wakago', which means Wild Goose. Returned to Douglas for modification to the tailplane dihedral. After modification returned to operations in the West Indies.

Transferred to K.N.I.LM. East Indies Division of K.L.M. and reregistered PK-ADD during 1940. This aircraft whilst on a goodwill visit to Australia in April 1941 had the distinction of being the first aircraft in Australia to have a nosewheel. Whilst in Australia this aircraft was noted at Sydney and Essendon giving goodwill flights as the company had recently opened an office in Sydney. By mid February 1942 services to Australia had been suspended due the Japanese invasion.

Aircraft escaped to Australia from Bandoeng with evacuees escaping the oncoming Japanese forces. Sold to the Australian Government on 19/3/1942. Transferred to the U.S.A.A.F. on 28/3/1942 for use by Allied Directorate of Air Transport and allocated the radio callsign of VHCXB whilst operated in Australia.

Reports indicate that Australian National Airways may have also operated this aircraft under charter from Allied Directorate of Air Transport. Later noted as being operated by 21st Troop Carrier Squadron and 374th Troop Carrier Group of Fifth Air Force. Aircraft suffered an accident at Lurnea Siding, which is east of Charleville when an emergency landing needed to be made after engine failure. After touching down aircraft sustained damage when it struck an anthill causing one of the undercarriages to damage a wing. Repaired to reenter service.

Designated by the United States Air Force and designated as a C-110-DE with the U.S. serial number 44-83231 in a belatedly book keeping exercise on 17/3/1945. Aircraft never carried these markings. During 1946 offered for sale to Australian National Airways and other companies but nobody showed any interest in the aircraft. Later scrapped at Essendon in the same year.

back to PJ-AIW at Photos by Others

Gil White 2005IN MEMORIAM.
"It has been a great pleasure to have known you all, but my days are now numbered." -24Jun06.
Gil White passed away on 27Jun06. He will be remembered by me as a enthusiastic (Ansett) historian and a courageous person; may he rest in peace.

Last updated 27.3.2006