Thanks, we now have the basics sorted so on with the story.
NZ4107 is the next Sunderland on the list. It was the last of the Mk5 Sunderlands to arrive in New Zealand, being bought on charge at Hobsonville on 22Sep1954. Built by Blackburn at Dumbarton as Mk.V, it had served with the RAF as VB883 from November 1945 before going to Shorts for upgrade work in November 1953.
NZ4107 joined 6Sdn as XX-C then XX-D, later transferring to 5Sdn as KN-F. When the Sunderlands became a merged fleet, it carried the identifying code D.NZ4107 at an unknown location as XX-DAs D, NZ4107 moored out at HobsonvilleOn the hard at HobsonvilleNZ4107 on the takeoff run, location looks like Evans Bay
The Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened for traffic in mid-1959, initially as a four-lane structure. These publicity photos were taken soon after that event.NZ4107 in low pass over the bridge, taken from the north looking south
This Sunderland was the last of the RNZAF boats to undergo a full refit, which took place at the TEAL workshops in 1964. It then seemed to become the aircraft of choice for publicity events.
NZ4107 at the opening of the Auckland International Airport 31Jan1966Colin Hunter photoand some other views of NZ4107 airborne
By the end of 1966, the 5Sdn Sunderland flight only had NZ4113, NZ4114 and NZ4107 remaining. NZ4107 was the final Sunderland to leave Lauthala Bay, departing on 2Apr1967 for a 9 hour flight to Hobsonville. The crew were Lofty Laing, Gary Wrathal, I. Bailey(nav), Noel Crump, Lew Wirth, Wally Plank, Eddy Brown and Murray Rutherford.
Although this was the last flight for NZ4107 and the last Sunderland flight for the RNZAF, there was no ceremony attached.
One of the crew on board at that time relates:
"I flew the last RNZAF Sunderland of 5 Sqn from Lauthala Bay Fiji to Hobsonville New Zealand on the 2 April 1967. Sadly on arrival at the Hobsonville sea base there was not a soul to welcome this final flight of the type which had served not only NZ so well but the South Pacific area in SAR and general support and communications. The Sqn had acquired five new Lockheed P3B aircraft the previous year and we were by then the forgotten element of the Sqn; I had the choice of converting onto the P3B or the C130 however the attitude of the Sqn with the final Sunderland flight made it a no brainer, I enjoyed three and a half years on the C130 before leaving the Airforce and starting a thirty year flying career with Air NZ. I'm now retired but I still reflect on those early flying boat days."NZ4107 resting at Hobsonville 30Apr1967
Struck off charge on 3May1967, NZ4107 was sold to Australian Aircraft Sales, Sydney & scrapped at Hobsonville soon afterwards.Next: NZ4108 (the one that got away)