My Flying Boat War

Survival and Success over the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific in WW2

Wing Commander ‘Vic’ Hodgkinson DFC, RAAF

One Second World War pilot's own account of his part in the Battle of the Atlantic and the campaigns in the Mediterranean and Pacific.
Date Published :
May 2023
Publisher :
Air World
Illustration :
Approximately 150 mono illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399065610
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Wing Commander Vic Hodgkinson DFC served throughout the Second World War as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. His war began in 1939 when he traveled to the UK to become one of the founding members of 10 Squadron RAAF. With its training complete, the squadron took delivery of its first Short Sunderland flying boats.

In early 1940, the squadron was loaned to the RAF by the Australian Government. Flying from Mount Batten (Plymouth), Pembroke Dock (Wales) and Oban (Scotland), Vic Hodgkinson, along with the rest of the squadron, played a vital part in the early stages of the Battle of the Atlantic as part of the RAF’s Coastal Command.

During that time, he was involved in numerous air-sea rescues. This included picking up twenty-one survivors of a U-boat attack, and of returning the compliment with depth charge attacks on German submarines.

Vic himself became a survivor when, returning from a fifteen-hour patrol in fog, his Sunderland crashed into the Irish Sea near Bardsey Island, off the North Wales coast, while returning to Pembroke Dock. Six of his eleven crew were killed; it was a gruelling twelve hours before the survivors were finally rescued.

In May 1941, Vic and his crew were dispatched to the Mediterranean, but became stranded in Egypt after their Sunderland was damaged. while awaiting spare parts, Vic volunteered to serve with a RAF flying boat squadron based in Alexandria. He found himself flying through heavy enemy fire to make contact with Allied troops fighting for their lives in Crete.

After this, they were once again back in the Atlantic, flying patrols across the Bay of Biscay. During one such sortie, Vic’s crew became embroiled in a battle of the giants with a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor. It was an engagement that ended badly for the faster and heavily armed enemy aircraft.

In 1942, Hodgkinson was sent back to Australia, going on to serve with both 20 Squadron RAAF and 40 Squadron RAAF. It was in this period that he also flew the Consolidated Catalina, Martin Mariner and other flying boats – including Dornier Do 24s that had been impressed into RAAF service after the fall of the Dutch East Indies. His missions included dropping supplies to remote areas, minelaying, reporting on Japanese ship movements, and engaging in the bombing of enemy positions.

This is Vic’s remarkable story, told here in his own words for the first time.

About The Author

Wing Commander VIC HODGKINSON DFC served throughout the Second World War as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He lived his life fascinated by aviation, an interest that started when, living in Australia, he watched the biplanes that used a nearby crossroads as a guide to the local aerodrome. Determined to fly, Vic, the son of a signwriter, joined the RAAF as a storekeeper in 1937. He then trained to be a pilot, gaining his coveted ‘Wings’ before the outbreak of war. In the post-war years, Vic enjoyed a lengthy and enjoyable career as a pilot for BOAC. It was in the 1970s that he wrote about his RAAF training and wartime flying experiences. He passed away in 2010.

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