History of the Rathmines RAAF Flying Boat Base

No. 3 Operational Training Unit (Seaplane Training Flight)

Seaplane Training Flight was formed in March 1940 at RAAF Base Rathmines under the command of Squadron Leader D A Connelly for flying training and was responsible for providing seaplane conversion training to RAAF air and ground crew. Initially equipped with two Supermarine Seagull aircraft the Flight received, in February 1941, the first of the PBY5A Catalina’s and a small number of Voight Sikorsky Kingfisher’s in early 1942.

The function of the unit was to carry out high level bombing practice, anti submarine patrols and training courses for flying boat crews.

In June 1942 Flight Lieutenant A G Wearne became the first pilot to complete the Catalina conversion course.

As part of the expansion of the RAAF’s seaplane units the Seaplane Training Flight was expanded to form No. 3 Operational Training Unit in December 1942.

All personnel and aircraft were transferred. No. 3 Operational Training Unit was the Royal Australian Air Force’s main seaplane training unit during World War II and was responsible for converting RAAF aircrew to aircraft such as the Catalina and Kingfisher.

In addition, aircraft from No. 3 Operational Training Unit flew anti-submarine patrols off the coast of New South Wales. No. 3 Operational Training Unit was disbanded following the end of the war.