First Lockheed Hudson aircraft received by the RAAF from the United States

26 Jan 1940

The first Lockheed Hudson was received by the RAAF on 26th January 1940.

The Hudson was an American civilian transport aircraft converted for military use during World War II. It was the first American combat aircraft type to be placed into service by the RAAF. The aircraft’s versatility saw it serve for the duration of the war and for a period after. It was mostly utilised for reconnaissance, transportation, and training.

On 8th December 1941 Hudson aircraft were responsible for the first successful attack on Japanese ships.

Several Hudsons were lost during both training and operations in World War II. The most notable being A16-97. On 13th August 1940, A16-97 stalled on approach to Canberra and killed the Minister for Air, James Fairbairn, as well as two Federal Ministers, and six others. The RAAF base in Canberra was renamed in honour of Minister Fairbairn.

Hudson aircraft were flown by No's 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 23, 24, 25, 32, 38, 459 Squadrons, and No 1 Operational Training Unit.

The RAAF retired the last Hudson from service in 1949. After the war several ex-military aircraft were flown by seventeen civil operators including Sydney-based Adastra Aerial Surveys.

No 100 Squadron currently operates A16-112 which was donated to the RAAF by David Lowy in 2019.

To learn more, download this extract from Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force by David Richardson and Peter Wood.

Related aircraft

  • Hudson Bomber