The Australian War Memorial calls the Hudson RAAF’s workhorse – a description that feels about right. While the Boomerang and Spitfire captured the country’s imagination during WWII, the Hudson’s can-do attitude made it the more invaluable team-player. Simply put, it may be the most versatile aircraft RAAF has deployed.
Hudsons could transport troops and carry out patrols, but they were also adept as long-range bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. They could even be adapted to carry airborne lifeboats under their fuselage for air-sea rescue. While the type made its first flight in 1938, it served long after the war. In total, 2,941 were built worldwide, of which RAAF received 247 between January 1940 and May 1942 in several iterations.
If you want to see one for yourself, restored Hudsons are on display at both the Temora Aviation Museum and the Australian War Memorial. Temora’s, A16-112, conducted anti-submarine patrols off the coast of WA and served out of Milne Bay, PNG, on bombing armed reconnaissance. Meanwhile, the War Memorial’s example, A16-105, was used to train RAAF aircrews and carried out supply flights during the Allied advance on Buna on PNG’s north coast.