Sunk Sub, Open Club!

Seven van Roij profiles the world’s oldest airworthy Catalina

WARBIRDS CONSOLIDATED CATALINA

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Through the cascades of spray, the crew saw that the submarine had suddenly surfaced. Catalina 2459 of US Navy squadron VP-73, operating out of Reykjavík, Iceland, had unleashed depth charges on U-tanker U-464 on August 20, 1942. The modified submarine kept attack-boats topped up with fuel and supplies, greatly extending their time at sea.

It was some time before Lt Robert B Hopgood and his crew knew they had sunk U-464. When the victory was confirmed, a message was sent back to base: “Sunk sub, open club!” The base commander, frustrated at VP-73’s lack of success had closed the officers’ club bar until a U-boat was sent to the bottom. Alcohol was back on the menu!

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