The Mystery Plane

Patrol plane being brought up on deck of the USS Cumberland Sound AV-17 for servicing, 1944

The four-engine seaplane pictured on the Air Operations page appears to be a captured Japanese Kawanishi H8K2 (code name – “Emily”). Another photograph and mention of this plane can be found at the PBY Memorial Foundation web site.

From the National Archives by way of the PBY Memorial Foundation - Could this be the same plane seen being hoisted aboard the USS Cumberland Sound?


The following two photos are from Wikipedia.

A Japanese Kawanishi H8K (Allied code name "Emily") in flight in July 1944. Seconds later it was shot down by a U.S. Navy Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator of Bombing Squadron 115 (VB-115) from which the photo was taken. Source: U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.161.026 and 2002.019.007

A captured Japanese Kawanishi H8K Emily taking off at the U.S. Navy Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland (USA), in 1946-47. Source: U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News August 1947

A photo of this plane can be seen here. It is now on display in Japan at the Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum.

7 Responses to The Mystery Plane

  1. Dan says:

    It is most likely the same plan hoisted aboard your Dad’s ship. Official records report only 1 Kawanishi N8K2 “Emily” was captured during the war. It was at one time at Oak Harbor Seaplane Station in Washington State which is where the PBY Memorial picture is from.

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thank you, Dan – sure appreciate the information.

  3. Amy Corrigan-Unis says:

    I would love to know if you have any information or pictures with my grandfather, William T. Williams. He passed away when I was just a baby. Thank you.

  4. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Amy, do you have any information about your grandfather other than his name? Did he definitely serve on the USS Cumberland Sound?

  5. Stu Harris says:

    The Kawanishi H8K had small engines and props, but a very great range. Google “Operation K”, the two-plane second attack on Pearl Harbor.

  6. Dear USS Comberland, here are details on this flying boat. May I add the photo on your site, credited to you? Here are details on this aircraft. It came to the United States then was returned to Japan where it is on public display to this day.

  7. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thank you for the information! I’ve added a link to and look forward to spending more time exploring the site. Please feel free to use whatever material you find here that would be helpful. Unless otherwise indicated, it is all freely available using the Creative Commons license (seen on the home page). I think I’ve got just about everything I have already posted, but if there is anything you’re looking for, it never hurts to ask. If I don’t have it, perhaps someone else here does.

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