The Lockheed Hudson is a light bomber and maritime patrol aircraft built by the Lockheed Corporation of Burbank, California. 2,941 Hudsons were built between 1938 and 1943, serving throughout World War II with the RAF, RCAF, RAAF & RNZAF, as well as the USAAF and US Navy. The RNZAF received 94 Hudsons in 1941-42, which served primarily in the Pacific theatre of operations, in maritime reconnaissance and bombing roles.
NZ2035 (constructor’s number 3858) was originally built for the British Royal Air Force and serialled by them as AE503, but was diverted to the RNZAF and shipped to New Zealand on the SS Manuel.
She arrived NZ and was brought on charge, as NZ2035, at RNZAF Base Hobsonville on the 29th of October 1941. After assembly there she was allocated to 1GR Squadron, based at RNZAF Whenuapai. Subsequent allocations and locations were:
- 2GTF, RNZAF, Gisborne (2/8/43)
- 9BR, RNZAF, Whenuapai (26/8/43)
- 3BR, RNZAF, Ohakea (9/2/44)
- 14SU/1BR, RNZAF, Whenuapai (26/3/44)
- 13SU/4BR, RNZAF, Fiji (13/5/44)
She was ferried back to NZ by a No. 8 Squadron crew in December 1944 and at some stage transferred to RNZAF Woodbourne for storage – but possibly for refurbishment, given she returned from Fiji with five other war-weary aircraft being replaced by a rotation of six fresh aircraft.
She was tendered off on May 9th 1949 at RNZAF Woodbourne as part of War Assets Realisation Board tender WARB9205, and purchased by a Mr Edwards. She was then on-sold to the Holdaway family who farmed at Dillons Point near Woodbourne.
In the early 1970s she was passed to the Marlborough Museum of Flight, which to all intents and purposes appears to have been a one-man band in the form of Warrick Bint of nearby Blenheim. The exact date of this transfer is not known but is understood to be late 1970 or early to mid 1971.
Nothing became of this venture and in late 1972 or early 1973 the Holdaway family had to reclaim the aircraft, at which time the state of affairs came to the attention of the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society. Negotiations with the Holdaways commenced in April 1973 leading to the purchase of the fuselage and three outer wings on 29 July 1973. The purchase price was the transport cost incurred in the reclaiming of the aircraft: $30.
On Sept 27 1973 the RNZAF airlifted the fuselage to Christchurch in a C-130H Hercules and road transported the wings shortly thereafter. Later a very worse-for-wear set of tails arrived in the same manner.
On ANZAC Day weekend (April) 1974 a team from the society went to Dunback, Central Otago. From the farm of Angus Cameron the centre sections and one further outer wing from NZ2039, along with a variety of small fittings were recovered. One of the centre sections was excavated from the farm cess-pit!
The next major contribution came from Fieldair Ltd, who were disposing of material from their former operation of Lockheed Lodestar top-dressing aircraft, and from the stores of the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland. From these sources came a set of tail surfaces comprising parts from various Lockheeds: Hudson, Lodestar, and Ventura. Two Wright 1820 Cyclones and related cowlings accompanied these.
One final major acquisition was the Boulton & Paul Type C turret from the B24 Liberator project at Werribbee, Australia.
Restoration of NZ2035 in the Aeronautical Society workshops is ongoing. Any donations of money or parts to help complete this project would be gratefully received. Please contact the Society via the contact page if you can help.