Australian War Memorial Museum (Canberra)

Paul Butler (
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 10:38:23 +1100

Hello fellow modellers

At the risk of sounding picky, I think that the opening paragraph to Allan's new
picture page for this museum is incorrect. The two engines depicted in the
photograph are quoted as being Mercedes but I believe this to be wrong.

I have stood in virtually the same position to photograph the Pfalz and at the
same time noted that the engines were Benz. At the time I was not vitally
interested in the Benz and foolishly didn't bother to take any photographs of
these two examples. (I will have to go back and remedy this oversight)

Besides believing that I remember the placard (my memory is not so reliable
these days), I offer the following evidence to support my claim.

All the Mercedes engines for which I have details (1913/14 100HP to 1917/18
260HP) have an overhead cam shaft driving canted valves. The engines in the
photograph have a side camshaft driving the valves with pushrods. Furthermore
the valves are vertical.

The engines in the photo display a ribbed casing around the cylinders which
is unlike the Mercedes I have seen from other sources.

The Mercedes all have a very distinctive updraft carburettor on the port side
of the engine (left side) whereas the position of the carby in the photo is

The engines in the photo have forked inlet manifolds whereas my Mercedes
references suggest that the inlet manifold of most Mercedes had a relatively
crude T junction. The exception being at least one version which had a long
tapering manifold approaching from the rear (supercharged, I think).

Anybody else care to comment?

BTW, I understand from a conversation I had with one of the "guards", the
Museum has about 37 aircraft in the collection but most are in storage. Many
of them will eventually move the the new National Aerospace Museum to be
constructed at Point Cook Airforce base in Victoria. This is reputed to be one
of (if not the) oldest military flying schools in the world. I believe it was
formed before WW1 started. It is no longer operational but is kept in immaculate
condition and visitors are welcome. For biplane buffs, they have two very nice,
almost completely restored examples of a Farman Shorthorn and a Hawker Demon.

On display at the War Memorial Museum (Canberra) they have the WW1 aircraft we
already know of plus:

Curtiss P40
Avro Lancaster

The aircraft in storage include:

Me 163 rocket propelled fighter
Me 262 twin jet fighter

and I have a vague recollection of having seen a V1 missile back in 1965 but
I may well be wrong.

All of the above are genuine, no replicas.

Regards to all

Paul Butler