Sunk Sub, Open Club!

Seven van Roij profiles the world’s oldest airworthy Catalina



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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