Douglas A-20C Boston A28-8
Produced in the USA prior to World War II, the Douglas Boston was a light bomber and attack aircraft. Powered by two 1600hp Wright Cyclone radial engines, giving a top speed of 260 knots (480 km/h), the Boston could deliver 454 kg of bombs over a range of 1200 kilometres. Only operated by one unit in RAAF service, the initial Bostons for the RAAF were originally ordered by the French Air Force. This order was transferred to the RAF after the fall of France in 1940, and was diverted to the Dutch East Indies not long after Japan's entry into the war. When Java fell into enemy hands, the aircraft were then diverted to Melbourne where they were accepted by the RAAF.
The aircraft were allocated to No 22 Squadron at Richmond, NSW, and carried out anti-submarine patrols and coastal defence missions. The squadron was then moved to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to attack enemy troops, supply dumps and lines of communication throughout the Buna-Gona region. The squadron was re-equipped with A-20G Bostons in 1943 and then transferred to Goodenough Island.
RAAF Bostons often had four fixed forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns mounted in the nose of the aircraft, the transparent sections of the nose were faired over with painted aluminium and the crew number was reduced from four to three. A couple of the Bostons operated by the RAAF also had a fixed 0.30-inch machine gun in the extreme tail. This gun was operated electrically by the rear-gunner. RAAF Bostons took part in the Battle of Bismark Sea and contributed in attacks on a large Japanese convoy headed towards Lae in Papua New Guinea.
One of the RAAF's original Boston aircraft, A28-8, or 'J' for Jessica, was delivered to Melbourne in April 1942. In May 1942, the aircraft was allocated to No 22 Squadron, and after flight testing in Australia, A28-8 arrived at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in December of that year. In July 1943, No 22 Squadron was transferred to Goodenough Island, and A28-8 carried out operations from that location until 12 December, when the aircraft crashed on Goodenough airstrip due to battle damage.
It remained at the site until the aircraft was recovered in 1987, along with five other wrecked aircraft from the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and returned to Australia aboard HMAS Tobruk. After some time at RAAF Bases Wagga Wagga and Richmond, A28-8 was taken to RAAF Base Amberley for restoration to static condition. In 1998, the aircraft was transported to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook for display. A28-8, 'J' for Jessica, is the only survivor of the 69 Bostons operated by the RAAF.