Catalina flying boat presents a graceful sight during service
in World War II.
DOCUMENTARY makers Jeremy Linton-Mann and Alex Bonazzi are Cat lovers.
In October 2000, they set about documenting the history of the Catalina
flying boats, their pilots and aircrew that served Australia during
World War II after they discovered that no documentary had been
produced on the subject.
Even the landmark series Australians at War missed recounting
the amazing stories of the RAAF Catalina squadrons highly
dangerous missions against the Japanese invasion forces in the Pacific,
Mr Linton-Mann said.
The RAAF 75th anniversary book didnt include an account of
their work either.
The lack of documented Catalina history was also noticed by Deputy
Chief of Air Force Air-Vice Marshal Chris Spence. In a letter regarding
the documentary, AVM Spence said there is no doubt that the
officers and men of the Catalina squadrons performed vital roles
in our northern defences during World War II and the high level
of secrecy involved with their work has, unfortunately, contributed
to them being the forgotten heroes of war.
But thanks to the efforts of the two documentary makers, these heroes
will no longer be forgotten.
More than two years and over 30 interviews later, the pair has produced
Black Knights an 80-minute documentary showcasing the exploits
of the Catalina squadrons and their contribution from 1940 until
the war ended.
The groundbreaking production features interviews with former Catalina
pilots and aircrew from Queensland, NSW and Victoria, along with
rare Catalina-related footage supplied by the Australian War Memorial.
When the Cat vets get together they revert to being twenty-something
again, Mr Linton-Mann said. They are the most terrific
guys and unsung heroes with the greatest degrees of humility Ive
ever come across in program making. They are delighted their story
has finally been told in documentary form.
He said a major source of support for the documentary was Sir Richard
Kingsland, a former No. 11 Squadron Catalina skipper who became
Commanding Officer of RAAF Base Rathmines the flying boats
training base on Lake Macquarie.
Black Knights is available on VHS and DVD by e-mailing FilmAffaires@aol.com.
The cost of the documentary is $40, which includes $5 postage and
The production company WingCo Pictures, in return for access to
War Memorial archive footage, is donating master copies of all interviews
to the memorial, enabling historians and interested members of the
public access to these fascinating tales.
Another WingCo Pictures production, Wings Over Water, which documents
Australias love affair with military and civilian flying boats,
will be released in December to coincide with centenary of flight