The Australian Aircraft Restoration Group is pleased of announce its
acquisition of a rare and historically significant DAP (Bristol) Beaufort Bomber A9-13, the 13th example built in Australia, with funding assistance under the National Cultural Heritage Account,
for restoration and future static display of a complete aircraft at
the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin.
The National Cultural Heritage Account helps Australian cultural organisations acquire Australian protected objects, as defined by the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 (PMCH Act). Its purpose is to encourage organisations to buy nationally significant objects that they could not otherwise afford, with the intention that they be preserved and made accessible to the public.
Funding from the Account assists organisations that cannot raise the full purchase price for an Australian protected object.
Built by the Department of Aircraft Production, at Fishermanís Bend, Port
Melbourne, there is currently no partial or complete example of a Beaufort
on display anywhere in Victoria.
The twin engined Bristol Beaufort bomber was an enlarged development of the 1936 Bristol Blenheim light bomber, and was developed initially as a 3 seat torpedo bomber to replace the ancient Vickers Vildebeest but later revised as a 4 seat general purpose/reconnaissance bomber to replace the Avro Anson.
The first type 152 Bristol Beaufort L4441 flew on 15 October 1938 and a total of 1014 Beaufort mark I aircraft using Bristol Taurus slip sleeve engines were manufactured in the UK along with 1,429 Beaufort mark II aircraft fitted with American built Pratt and Whitney R1830 twin row wasps based on the Australian designs, production in the UK finished in early 1944.
In March 1939, the British and Australian
Governments announced that the twin engined Bristol Beaufort bomber, the
prototype of which had first flown in the UK in October 1938, would be
built for both the RAF and RAAF, and the 8th production Bristol Beaufort mark I, L4448 was shipped to Australia to act as a pattern aircraft and was later fitted with P&W 1830 engines..
the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, Australia embarked on a major
industrialisation, with Australiaís first mass produced aircraft the
Wirraway trainer, already being built at Port Melbourne by CAC, the
DAP established the Beaufort Division on adjoining land. At that time, the
manufacturing of such a modern twin-engined high performance aircraft and
its twin row 1200HP engines, was a major challenge to the Australian
industry, 10 years before production of its first local car. Major
industrial companies such as BHP and GMH contributed to the war effort
with BHPís Chairman Essington Lewis later being appointed Director of
War Munitions for the Government, responsible for the DAP.
The 39,000 component parts were sub-contracted out to over 600 firms, and
seven factories handled the major sub-assemblies which were then fed into
the main assembly plants. The Beaufort program made significant use of
existing workforce and skills in the railway workshops at Newport Victoria
as well as SA and NSW, as well as training new employees on the production
A major impact on the
nationís society and future development, was the introduction and
training of women on the production line workforce at the main assembly
plants, of the eventual 8,500 DAP employees, more than one-third were
The first DAP Beaufort flew in August 1941, and was one of a batch of 180
ordered by the RAF for use in the Far East, but when Japan entered the war
in December 1941, it was agreed that all Beauforts would be taken over by
the RAAF for the defence of Australia,becoming its most successful and
important medium bomber.
The first 50 examples built in Australia were designated as Beaufort mark V aircraft, differing from the Bristol Beaufort mark I built in the UK due to the installation of Australian built, American designed Pratt and Whitney engines, but with the Bristol B4 mk1E turret, and an aft firing cupola gun fitted under the nose. The remainder of the first 180 examples ordered for the RAF were finished as mark VI, VII and VA models, with various differences to the original mark V aircraft such as an extended fin, addition of two guns fitted in gimbles in the nose, deletion of the under nose cupola gun and variations in propellor and engine fitouts.
The definitive Australian Mark VIII Beaufort was the most numerous built, with 520 examples numbered from A9-181 to A9-700, and fitted with a new Bristol B1 mark V dorsal turret and later the B1 mark VE, they had a significantly different rear fuselage shape to accomodate the higher mounting of the later turrets.
production ceased in August 1944, a total of 700 Beauforts had been built.
These aircraft served with numerous squadrons including Nos 1, 2, 6, 7, 8,
13, 14, 15, 32, and 100 and established an impressive operational record
in operations against Japanese forces in New Guinea. They attacked
shipping in all areas of the South-West Pacific and sank cruisers,
destroyers and submarines, as well as bombing and strafing inland supply
dumps and troops. They were also used for routine convoy protection and
of the Beauforts were phased out of service soon after the war, and today
only three remain in various condition in Australia, with one
being rebuilt to fly in Queensland and another in storage with the AWM,
while another two exist in overseas collections.
The construction of 700 DAP Beauforts and 755 CAC Wirraways are the
crowning achievements of the local production of aircraft for the defence
of Australia in WW2.
Our DAP Beaufort A9-13 was the 13th locally built Australian mark V Beaufort Bomber, with the first 20 being assembled from imported UK parts, but fitted with Australian built Pratt and Whitney 1830 Twin Row Wasp engines. A9-13 was originally built to an RAF order of 180 aircraft and was delivered as RAF serial number T9552 in January 1942 and was one of 20 Australian Beauforts delivered to 100 Squadron RAF which operated at Richmond NSW.
DAP Beaufort A9-13 was the 13th locally built Australian mark V Beaufort Bomber, with the first 20 being assembled from imported UK parts, but fitted with Australian built Pratt and Whitney 1830 Twin Row Wasp engines. A9-13 was originally built to an RAF order of 180 aircraft and was delivered as RAF serial number T9552 in January 1942 and was one of 20 Australian Beauforts delivered to 100 Squadron RAF at Richmond NSW.
The first 58 aircraft were constructed with British serial numbers for delivery to the RAF for use by RAF 100 Torpedo Squadron at Singapore, however only 6 aircraft ever left Australia for Singapore, with 1 crashing on the way, and the remaining 5 hurriedly returned to Australia following the Japanese invasion.
T9552 joined Q Flight of the RAF 100 Torpedo Squadron at Point Cook on 21 January 1942 as the 8th aircraft on strength, and being allocated the RAF squadron codes NK-B. By the end of January the squadron relocated to Richmond RAAF Base in NSW.
On 9th of April T9552 was involved in a 5 hour escort duty of a large RAN Convoy, and in late April 1942 was transferred to Number 1 Operational Training Unit at Nhill.
All former RAF Beuaforts were transferred to the RAAF in May 1942 following the fall of Singapore, along with all other Australian RAF Beauforts and a new RAAF 100 Squadron was formed to operate Beauforts adopting the number and many aircrew from the RAF 100 Squadron attachment already in Australia along with those who escaped from Singapore.
Renumbered as RAAF Beaufort A9-13 in OTU service in June 1942 it moved to Bairnsdale in Victoria for use in the training of Beaufort aircrew before allocation to operational squadrons and served with 1 OTU until December 1942 when it suffered a forced landing due to engine failure
A9-13 continued to serve with 1 OTU until January 1944 when it was transferred to 1 Aircraft Deport at Laverton from where it was issued to 8 Communications Unit serve in New Guinea as a replacement for A9-79 in a communications and support role.
While serving with 8CU in New Guinea A9-13 was used to calibrate ground based airfield and early warning radar installations, as well as general communications and "milk" runs.
During a flight to deliver fruit and vegetables in May 1945 to the 100 Squadron base at Tadji airfield near Aitape in Northern PNG A9-13 suffered a forced landing and was converted to components.
In 1974 the remains of A9-13, along with twenty other wartime wrecks including 4 Beauforts, 7 P-39 Airacobras, 6 P-40 Kittyhawks and 1 A-20 Boston were recovered for American collector Dave Tallichet by Monty Armstrong and Charles Darby. A9-13 was exported to New Zealand and later brought to Australia by Monty Armstrong where it was displayed for a period at Point Cook and later Essendon Airport where some early restoration was undertaken, before being moved to Queensland for display at the Museum of Australian Army Flying at Oakey.
The partly restored A9-13 has remained in private ownership since its recovery from New Guinea and has been in storage in Queensland until its recent purchase by the museum.
When recovered in 1974 from the former RAAF 100 Squadron base at Tadji in PNG, the fuselage of A9-13 still carried the faint trace of yellow surrounds to its tri colour RAF roundel along with the remains of the NK-B squadron codes from its brief service with the RAF 100 Squadron "Q Flight" in Australia in early 1942.
While the remains of A9-13 form the basis of the assembled aircraft, its original cockpit was badly damaged by fire during the forced landing and a replacement cockpit from Beaufort mark VIII A9-210 was recovered from Tadji at the time to form the basis of the intended restoration.
A9-210 flew operationally with RAAF 100 squadron as "QH-D" on many operational combat missions from Tadji in New Guinea before suffering a collapsed undercarriage on landing on 13 July 1944 and being cannibalised for parts. The un-restored cockpit of A9-210 still carries remnants of nose art on either side of its nose, consisting of a torpedo with eyes, mouth and teeth, biting the pants of a Japanese soldier as he runs to escape all visible in the art remaining on the starboard side and the soldier visible in the art remaining on the port side. 100 Squadron Beauforts normally only carried nose art on the port side and these remnants are possibly the only surviving examples now in existence and will need to be preserved as part of the future planning of the Beaufort project.
The long term intention is to incorporate the museum’s restored cockpit of A9-150 into the restoration, it is from a DAP Beaufort mark VII which utilised the same early Bristol B4 mark IE turret but with twin 303 Vickers K Guns, and carried two Vickers K Guns in the nose gimbals, and was fitted with a larger fin.
A9-13 is the oldest surviving Beaufort bomber in the world, the only former RAF service survivor, it is also the oldest Australian built survivor, being the 13th production example and the only remaining example with the early turret fitted as all other survivors are Australian built DAP mark VIII examples with the later rear fuselage design. It is one of only 5 Beauforts surviving in the world, and 3 surviving in Australia.
Fuselage of Beaufort A9-13 on display at the museum
A9-13 is currently fitted with the unrestored cockpit of Beaufort mark VIII A9-210, however in the long term the museum intends to use its restored cockpit from Beaufort mark VII A9-150, along with other parts from A9-230 and A9-501 to assist in the restoration of A9-13 for the eventual
restoration and display of the aircraft, to become one of five remaining
world wide, and the only one in Victoria, along side the rare and restored
DAP Beaufighter already in the museumís collection, and A20-10, the oldest surviving, and 8th production Wirraway.
A9-210 is a later model DAP Beaufort mark VIII that flew combat missions with RAAF 100 Squadron as QH-D and retains its unique nose art on the starboard side of the cockpit consisting of a torpedo nudging a Japanese soldier in the rear.
A Photograph of DAP Beaufort mark V (A9-13) during its service as T9552 with Q flight of 100 Squadron RAF,
displaying the yellow outlined roundel and the RAF Squadron codes "B-NK"
(photo from Sydney Morning Herald via "Australian Air Force since 1911" by NM Parnell & CA Lynch)
Photograph of DAP Beaufort mark V T9552 following its tranfer from the RAF to RAAF as A9-13, and relocation from Richmond NSW to Bairnsdale Victoria
to serve with the RAAF Number 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU) for Beaufort crews,
displaying the aircraft number "13" repeated on the fuselage as per training unit practice.
(photo from John Hopton - "The Collection" - Reference P0850-0127)
DAP Beaufort mark V A9-13/(T9552), when found and recovered in 1974
from an aircraft graveyard of a former WW2 RAAF base at Tadji airfield near Aitape PNG.
The distinctive low mounting of the early Bristol mark 1E is clearly seen,
along with remains of the RAF yellow roundel markings and "NK-B" squadron codes.
The remains of the RAF 100 Squadron codes of "B-NK" are visible on the port side of the fuselage,
as seen in the earlier 1942 flying photograph of T9552.
The partially restored DAP Beaufort A9-13 at Essendon Airport in the late 1980s.
The fuselage of DAP Beaufort A9-13 in storage in Queensland
DAP Beaufort mark VIII cockpit from A9-210 as currently fitted to A9-13
DAP Beaufort mark VIII A9-210 nose art, Beaufort A9-210 flew operationally with RAAF 100 Squadron as QH-D.
The Museum's fully restored DAP Beaufort Cockpit A9-150
on display with sections of the rear and stern fuselage A9-230 and A9-501
DAP Beaufort mark VIII rear fuselage A9-230, with the stern fuselage of A9-501